Theni forest fire: 9 dead; IAF completes rescue mission; Palaniswami orders probe


A total of six teams are inside the Kurangani forest area to provide first aid to the victims, who are being shifted to government hospitals in Theni and Madurai districts.

The trekking team had 36 people, including three children. Also, the reports are saying that students were climbing down the hills from Munnar in Kerala to Theni when they got trapped in the fire.

The DC confirmed that among the deceased are four women, four men, and a child.

There have been many fires over the last few days in the region. All rescued have been admitted to Bodinayyakanur government hospital for treatment.

Using the Global Positioning System location obtained during the aerial survey on Sunday, a team of 35 IAF personnel including a medical team were deployed to Bodi from Sulur Air Base, while 16 commandos of the Garud Commando Force went afoot along with the local team across the hilly terrains at 5 am on Monday. Also, she said, 24 trekkers from Chennai Trekking Club and 12 from Erode and Tiruppur had gone to the Kurangani Hills.

The toll in the forest fire in Theni district has risen to 11 with one more person succumbing to burns even as a forest officer has been suspended and a tour guide arrested. The measure is to prevent such tragedies in future, said chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan in an assembly session on Monday.

IAF personnel from Sulur airbase in Coimbatore prepare for the rescue operation. Only selected places are allowed for trekking and adequate security would have been given if the trekking teams had sought prior permission. "We are closely monitoring the situation", the official said.

With this, Karnataka became the second state to issue such orders after Kerala.

Central Portugal is battling a massive forest fire. They started the trek from Kurangani on the Tamil Nadu border on Sunday morning.

Sources said some of the rescued have suffered serious burn injuries.

In his condolence message, he said "my Heart is filled with grief at the untimely end that has befallen 10 members of a trekking group in the Kurankani hills of Theni district".