Ten trekkers have died and 14 left seriously injured in a massive forest fire that started on Saturday in Tamil Nadu’s Theni. The 36 trekkers had gone mountain trekking in Kurangani hills in the Bodi foothills. On Monday, while Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami ordered a probe into the incident, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman spoke of stepped up rescue operations and said that an advanced light helicopter had been sent to save those trapped in the forest fire. A Revenue Department official in Madurai told news agencies that the injured had been admitted to hospitals in Madurai. “As per our information, they have suffered burn injuries of up to 40 per cent,” the official said. The Tamil Nadu government has ordered a probe into the incident and assured action against those who allegedly arranged the expedition without permission. Of the 10 persons killed in the fire at Kurangani Hill ranges in Western Ghats, seven were women and three were men. While seven of the victims were from Chennai, others were from Erode district. Swinging into full force, the defence ministry deployed 16 commandos of the Garud Commando Force and four choppers from the Indian Air Force to speed up the rescue operation of those stuck in the Kurangani forest fire in Theni district. A temporary helipad was set up at the Bodi foothills near the trekkers’ camp and Indian Air Force sent two helicopters for an aerial survey of the site on the directive of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman after she was approached for help by Palaniswami. Part of International Women’s Day celebrations, the mountain-climbing adventure trip included two groups of 24 trekkers from Chennai Trekking Club and 12 from Erode and Tiruppur, said District Collector Pallavi Baldev. Palaniswami said the trekking expedition had been done without getting the necessary permission from the Forest Department. Here are the top 10 developments in the Kurangani forest fire in Tamil Nadu’s Theni district: 1) PM Modi, Rahul Gandhi express their condolences: Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended his condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the Theni forest fire in Tamil Nadu. My condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the Theni forest fire. I hope that those who are injured recover soon, Modi said in a tweet.
Source: Business Standard