March 11, 2018
Theni : Close to 40 people were trapped in forest fire that engulfed a group of trekkers in Theni hills on Sunday late afternoon. At least 15 people have been rescued and admitted in the hospital for burn injuries.
Some people were lying on the spot in areas that are difficult to reach as there is no motorable road. Slowly, more and more people are being rescued, but due to darkness rescue efforts were hampered.
According to a trekker, Vijayalakshmi from Chennai, the fire was noticed after they had lunch and where coming down the hill. She was admitted to Theni government hospital with minor burn injured.
According to hospital sources, at least 10 persons have been admitted with serious burn injuries.
Several students from Coimbatore and Erode in Western Tamil Nadu and a group of 24 from Chennai Trekking Club had trekked up the mountain Kurengini Hills near Bodinayakar on Saturday and were to return Sunday.
Local villagers were among the first to reach the spot and rescue at least 15 of them. In fact, the moment chief minister Edapaddi Palaniswami requested help from Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, she ordered air force personnel to be pressed into service.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had tweeted that the Southern Command was in constant touch with Theni collector, who has rushed to the spot. Also visiting the spot is deputy chief mjnister O Panneerselvam.Union defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday tweeted that the southern command was in touch with the Theni district collector. TN deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam is rushing to the spot.
There are six medical teams, 13 ambulances and several fire tenders were engaged in rescue attempts.
Theni collector Pallavi Baldev said “at least 36 people had gone trekking yesterday. They had camped there in the night. They were returning in the afternoon when fire was spotted. The groups split up and which is why no correct fix is possible how many still trapped. So far 15 people admitted to hospital with burn injuries she said. No deaths have yet been reported. Rescue team from IAF helicopters landed at Madurai. At present, 13 ambulances six medical teams are out on the spot.
Of the 36, 12 trekkers are from Tirupur and 24 from Chennai Trekkking Club. Of the total, 25 were women, three children and eight male members.