Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

How IAF Choppers Became Saviours for Trekkers Stranded in Theni Forest Fire

How IAF Choppers Became Saviours for Trekkers Stranded in Theni Forest Fire

The deceased include six women, four men, a child and 27 people have been rescued.

On their way back on Sunday, the group, along with 15 members of an extended family who were also trekking in the hills, were trapped on the hills and surrounded by the fire.

"I was anguished to know that 10 persons were killed in the forest fire", the AIADMK leader said.

A salute to all the air warriors and other ground teams, who worked collectively to rescue the stranded trekkers. A rescue operation involving Indian Air Force helicopters was launched.

"The circumstances leading to this incident of forest fire, as well as trekking without proper permission from Forest Department in forest fire prone area needs to be enquired in detail", it said.

As summer months are the peak tourist season, the Department offices across Karnataka are flooded with applications from wildlife enthusiasts seeking permission for trekking.

"While the trekkers were coming down, they came across forest fire and the group got divided", she said.

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The news broke a little after 5 pm on Sunday when Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman took to Twitter to announce that IAF helicopters will join the operations to rescue those caught in the fire.

With this, Karnataka became the second state to issue such orders after Kerala. A probe has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the fire, the official said.

Following the forest fire, the Namakkal Forest Department has imposed a ban to trek in Kolli Hills till May 31 on Tuesday. The chief minister and deputy CM O Panneerselvam visited the injured admitted to Government Rajaji Hospital and private hospitals in Madurai on Monday evening.

The "Contact Us" column merely gave out an e-mail ID while the group claimed it was a "non-profit, volunteer-based group which organises outdoor, sports, environmental conservation and social activities throughout the year on weekends and weekday mornings", added the police.

She said some of those located to Kurangani Hills had suffered burn injuries.

They started the operation at around 2.30 am after landing at the Kurangani hills on Monday.

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