Tamil Nadu forest fire: Tourist guide arrested

Frederick Owens
March 14, 2018

The rescue mission team also helped to recover the corpses of the trekkers who died in the fire, which were identified by a team headed by the SP of Theni.

A trekking event meant for adventure turned awry when nine of the 36 trekkers were killed after being caught in a forest fire on Sunday afternoon in Kurangani hills in Tamil Nadu.

Das said that he found it "surprising" that a group of women trekkers went into a forest with little knowledge and no permission from the authorities.

Mr 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.

The DC confirmed that among the deceased are four women, four men, and a child. The remaining were undergoing treatment for serious burn injuries.

Advanced light helicopters (ALH) and 10 commandos were pressed into service to rescue those who were trapped in the fire.

In a series of tweets, he blamed the forest department's "laxity" for 'not preventing the victims from undertaking the trekking expedition as the reason for the tragedy. "Trekkers should climb hills only after taking the government's nod".

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"We have been warning people about the forest fire".

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The fire prompted the government in neighbouring Kerala to order a temporary ban on hiking in the state's forest areas. Police have arrested Ranjith, 30, a local guide of the ill-fated trekking expedition and are questioning him.

The group's website, splashed with photographs of hikers, didn't have details of those managing its affairs.

It claimed having 40,000-odd members and that all its activities are "free (and) expenses shared equally among participants".

Nearby Kolukkumalai hills is stated to be the home to highest tea estate in the world located at an altitude close to 8,000 feet, according to Tamil Nadu "favtourism" blog.

Of the 27 people rescued by the team, 14 were grievously injured and were immediately taken to hospitals in Bodi, Theni, and Madurai.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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