Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Theni fire: State Government refutes, organisers claim that trekkers had permit

Theni fire: State Government refutes, organisers claim that trekkers had permit

The chief minister has ordered a probe and legal action against those who had arranged the expedition.

After massive rescue operations led by the India Air Force (IAF) team, 21 persons were rescued.

"Some of those rescued have been admitted to a local government hospital where they are being treated for burn injuries". "I offer my deep condolences to the families of those who are mourning the loss of their near and dear ones", Mr Purohit said, according to a Raj Bhavan communique.

The Kurangani hills in Theni district, which border a forest reserve and a national park, are a popular destination for hikers and global adventure tourists.

Indian Air Force has sent two helicopters on the directives of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman after she was approached for help by Chief Minister K Palanisami. The bodies have been sent for identification and would be handed over to the relatives after autopsy.

Mar 12 Trekking expedition to any forest area or wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu requires prior approval from Forest and Wildlife authorities and the procedure to get nod is simple, an official said here today.

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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.

The group had camped at a place up in the hills on Saturday night.

"At the moment, the report is that the garuds are trying to lift the bodies of the dead to a higher plain, from where you can have the helicopters go and carry them down".

Seven of the victims were from Chennai, while the others were from Erode district, he said in a statement.

DMK leader MK Stalin also expressed grief over the death of the trekkers. "The forest officials took Rs 200 from us as entry fee", said one of the rescued trekkers Prabhu.

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