Published: Mon, March 12, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

TN forest fire: 20 of 40 trekkers rescued

TN forest fire: 20 of 40 trekkers rescued

According to Sitharaman's latest tweets, 10 commandos who had reached Madurai via chopper by 11.30 pm were to reach the students by 3 am by road and then trek.

Forest department sources from the spot said they were trying their best to bring the injured downhill. "Ambulances are positioned", she said.

Unconfirmed reports reaching Chennai said six students belonging to a team of trekkers are feared dead when they were caught up in the forest fire.

Updating on the incident Sitharaman said that 10-15 students have been rescued.

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Vijayalakshmi, one of the trekker from Chennai, who has escaped from the fire said that the fire started to spread from the downhills when they were having lunch.

Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam has rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted that the IAF has been instructed to help the rescue operation.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Theni SP, V Baskaran, said, "A special team of forest and police officers has reached the spot where most of the trekkers are stranded". "As preliminary information, we have learnt that five trekkers are dead and some are missing".

Baldev said 15 persons had been rescued and search was on for others. Two helicopters of the Indian Air Force have been pressed into service.

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A major fire broke out in the Kurangani forests, Theni in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. They were on their way back to Kurangani hills when they got caught in the fire. "Central government was requested to provide helicopters for rescue work", he said.

They included 25 women and three children.

"It is dark, it is a hilly place and it is not a motorable road". Firefighters, forest officials, police, have been called from neighbouring districts with necessary equipment.

Earlier, a report from Coimbatore, quoting police, said two IAF "Sarang" helicopters from Sulur have left for Kurangani forest.

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