Nine trekkers dead in India Tamil Nadu forest fire


The ban by Kerala and Karnataka comes a day after the forest fire at Kurangini hills on Sunday trapped 39 persons - mostly women - who had gone on a trek.

DMK Working President M.K.Stalin, MDMK General Secretary Vaiko, PMK Founder Dr.S.Ramadoss, former AIADMK leader T.T.V.Dhinakaran among leaders of various political parties condoled the death of trekkers in the forest fire. The 36-member-team comprised 24 people from Chennai and 12 from Tirupur and Erode districts.

Police said the victims were between the ages of 25 and 35.

The search operation of other trekkers were on, he said, adding that those rescued had been admitted to a local government hospital for minor injuries. "Treatment for third-degree burns is being administered to 17 people", state health minister C Vijaya Bhaskar told reporters. Footage on television showed disturbing visuals of injured women, writhing in pain, unable to move due to their injuries. The local forest chief had also called it an "illegal trekking expedition".

Stating that the cause of the fire was not known, he said efforts would be taken to strengthen the forest area security further. Vijayalakshmi, along with 26 others, embarked on this journey as part of the Chennai Trekking Club. "They should have either stopped these people from going in, considering there have been sporadic and widespread forest fire during the last few days in the region", said an official involved in the tough rescue operation, requesting anonymity.

IAF personnel from Sulur airbase in Coimbatore prepare for the rescue operation.

The people who died in the fire includes four women, four men and a child. The Tamil Nadu government has ordered a probe into the incident.

The choppers then airlifted the bodies to a temporary helipad erected in the playground of a private college, following which these were taken to the Theni Medical College Hospital for post-mortem.

According to the website, the CTC is a non-profit, volunteer group which organises outdoor sports, environmental conservation and social activities throughout the year on weekends and weekday mornings.