A sad incident is that Ten trekkers have died in a forest fire on the Kurangani Hills, Theni district in Tamil Nadu. A rescue operation with the help of the Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters has been underway since Sunday. A total of 27 trekkers were rescued from the fire .
The trekking group of eight men, 25 women and three children had camped at a place up in the hills on Saturday night. They were supposed to return on Sunday.
District Collector Pallavi Baldev said the operations were almost over and the trekkers were being brought down by the rescue team members. A temporary helipad has been set up at the Bodi foot hills. The injured have been admitted in hospitals in Madurai and Theni. The night climate was generally chilly while efforts were afoot to reach the stranded trekkers caught up in the blaze. State health secretary J Radhakrishnan said six of the rescued admitted in a Madurai hospital have suffered serious burn injuries. The IAF commando team had flown in from the Sulur Air Base near Coimbatore late on Sunday and climbed up the hills.
The Union Minister of Defence Nirmala Sitharaman had confirmed on Sunday that the commandos deployed in the rescue mission would carry medicines and provide medical assistance on spot. Having access to advanced communication facilities, the IAF team was also deputed to check the landing facility for helicopter. They decided on the best ways to evacuate those stuck on the hill, including the injured. Speaking to the media on Sunday, Pallavi had said that 24 trekkers from the Chennai Trekking Club and 12 from Pallavi Baldev had gone up the Kurangani Hills. The adventure was part of the Woman’s Day activity that was celebrated on Thursday. A Tamil Nadu Forest Department official had said that the organisers had not obtained any permission for the trekking mission.