The operations to rescue trekkers caught up in a forest fire at Kurangani Hills in Theni district in Tamil Nadu continue on Monday, even as a commando team from Indian Air Force (IAF) has been pressed in the service.
Nine dead confirmed in the fire. The people who died in the fire include four women, four men and a child. Out of 27 people who have been rescued 10 of them have minor injuries, while 8 of them have serious injuries, ANI reported.
At least 16 commandos of Garud Commando Force and four choppers from the Indian Air Force have been pressed into the search and rescue operation since this morning.
The District Collector Pallavi Baldev yesterday told media that 24 trekkers from Chennai Trekking Club and 12 from Erode and Tiruppur had gone to the Kurangani Hills. "Fifteen persons had been rescued and the search was on for others. The rescued trekkers have been admitted to a nearby hospital," she said on Sunday night.
The trekking group consisted of eight men, 25 women and three children who had camped at a place up in the hills on Saturday night and they decided to return on Sunday. It was later gleaned that the trekking team, the majority of them women, had embarked on trekking as part of Woman's Day activity.
However, Tamil Nadu Forest Department official said that trekking organisers had not obtained any permission.
The IAF commando team flew in from Sulur air base near Coimbatore on Sunday late night and climbed up the hills. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday said the commandos will be deployed in the rescue mission. They will carry medicines and provide medical assistance.
The commandos, having access to advanced communication facilities, will also check about the landing facility for the helicopter on Monday morning or decide on other ways of evacuating those stuck on the spot, including the injured, Sitharaman added.
(With inputs from IANS)