On Monday The Tamil Nadu government said “Nine people have been dead in a forest fire in the Western Ghats, who were part of a trekking expedition,”
“Nine persons are dead, while 17 of the rescued have been hospitalised and 10 did not require hospitalisation,” Commissioner of Revenue Administration K Sathyagopal said this to reporters.
The local police confirmed “Among the dead, six were from Chennai and three from Erode”
In the meantime, Chief Minister K Palaniswami is rushing to Theni to oversee rescue operations.
According to Mariam Pallavi Baldev Theni district collector, A 36-member team which includes 24 people from Chennai and 12 from Tiruppur and Erode districts, on a trekking expedition reached Kurangani hills on 10th March. The team included 25 women and three children.
A tweet by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman “Four helicopters of the IAF and their 10 commandos are involved in the rescue operation”
Assistance by local tribals and employees of nearby tea estates besides the IAF which has deployed four choppers from its Sulur Airbase in Coimbatore, personnel were drawn from fire and rescue and forest departments, police, and local officials are involved in the rescue operations.
Pallavi Baldev said, “the trekkers after staying overnight at an estate in Kozhukumalai started their return journey to the plains yesterday morning when they heard about the sudden forest fire and got separated while attempting to find a safe way.”
Tamil Nadu’s health minister C Vijayabhaskar said “the injured trekkers were received at Kurangani by a medical team.” he added “There is a medical team. Nine patients have already been shifted to Government Hospital in Body and they are all stable,”.
The minister said, ” While Ilakiya and Sabitha have got 15-20 percent burn injuries, one of the injured identified as Anu Nithya sustained 90 percent burns injury.”
Madurai District Collector Veeraraghava Rao said “medical teams comprising plastic surgeons have been deployed to provide treatment at the Madurai Government Rajaji Hospital”
A defence press note said “16 Garud commandos were in action from the morning, Eight commandos had already reached the top and had started dousing the fire”
“One helicopter completed the first round of action and continuing it,” the release said,” the fire was still razing”.Four choppers had been pressed into service.