Forest fire kills 10 hikers in Tamil Nadu

Forest fire in Theni over 20 college students feared trapped

Operations to douse the fire were underway. "I was anguished to know that 10 persons were killed in the forest fire", the Chief Minister said.

Speaking to IANS on phone, a Revenue Department official in Madurai said: "The injured have been admitted to hospitals in Madurai".

In another tweet around 7 pm, Sitharaman said she spoke to the Theni District Collector who informed her that 10-15 students were making their way to the foothills. They started off from Kurangani at the base and paid the fees at the forest entry check-post, where the officials issued them an entry pass, the CTC said on its website. "If the district administration and forest department had ensured adequate guidance and arrangements for those who had gone on the trekking expedition, the loss of lives could have been certainly avoided", he said in a statement. The Indian Air Force (IAF) was pressed into action by the Defence Minister after reports of the forest fire surfaced.

DMK leader M.K. Stalin expressed grief over the death of the trekkers while PMK founder S. Ramadoss demanded streamlining of trekking activity.


Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam told reporters in Madurai that the trekkers didn't get permission from the forest department for their expedition. "One of the few who were reachable by phone gave us accurate information on the location of the group", the organisation said.

The dead include four women, one child and four men.

While state rescue agencies, including Fire department rescued 26 stranded persons, the Centre also deployed defence helicopters and commando forces during the operations, he said. The security cover in the forest will be heightened to prevent such incidents, he said. They were supposed to return on Sunday.

Kurangani-Kozhukumalai hills in the Western Ghats are located near Bodinayakanur, about 40 kms from here. Eight commandos had already reached the top and had started dousing the fire, it said.

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