Nine trekkers killed in Tamil Nadu forest fire

CHENNAI, March 12, 2018: A trekking event meant for adventure turned awry when nine of the 36 trekkers were killed after being caught in a forest fire on Sunday afternoon in Kurangani hills in Tamil Nadu.

Theni district collector M Pallavi Baldev said on Monday 36 trekkers— 24 from Chennai, including 23 women, and 12 from Tiruppur, including three women and three children — were caught in the fire on Sunday afternoon. Six of the nine killed trekkers were from Chennai while the rest were from Tiruppur. The deceased were identified as Subha, Hemalatha, Punitha, Akila; Arun, Vipin Dhivya, Vivek and Tamilselvan.

Forest officials said the trekkers tried to take refuge inside a dried up stream but the dried grass in the stream quickly caught fire. The district collector said some of them fell into a pit.

After massive rescue operations led by the India Air Force (IAF) team, 21 persons were rescued. Eight trekkers were sent to the circuit house. There were all treated at the Kurangani primary health centre before being were sent to the Bodi General Hospital.

Five persons with serious injuries were sent to Theni Medical College and Hospital, six were sent to Madurai Medical College and three others were taken to a private medical college, media reports said.