Chennai, March 12: Nine people have been confirmed to be dead in the Kurangani forest fire in Theni district of Tamil Nadu. The dead include 4 men, 4 women and a child. Of the 27 who were rescued, 8 suffered major burns, while 10 others have minor injuries.
Two groups of 36 tourists, mostly women, were on a trekking expedition to Karunkani hills and were caught in a forest fire. Multiple teams including from the fire service, police and defence forces have been pressed into service.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the IAF had been instructed to help the rescue operation. “Responding to the request from the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister on the forest-fire related issue-20 students are caught in Kurangani, Theni district.
Speaking to reporters, Sitharaman said at least four helicopters are ready to resume rescue operations on Monday morning. “We are sending 10 commandos to reach the spot by midnight with adequate medical aid,” she said.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Palanisami has said rescue operations are underway on a war footing and his deputy O Panneerselvem, Forest Minister Dindigul C Srinivasan and top officials are overseeing the operations.