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15 trekkers rescued from TN forest fire, efforts on to reach others

IANS  |  Chennai 

Fifteen of the 36 trekkers caught up in a forest fire at Hills in district were rescued on Sunday even as a massive operation was on to rescue the remaining ones, an said.

"Ten commandos will move to by a helicopter from base and trek to the spot in the night. They will carry medicines and provide medical assistance to the injured," tweeted.

The commandos, having access to advanced communication facilities, will also check about the landing facility for the helicopter on Monday morning or decide on other ways of evacuating those stuck on the spot, including the injured, Sitharaman added.

Earlier, on her orders, an helicopter surveyed the fire-ravaged hills.

She said during the aerial survey, the trekkers had signalled their location to the chopper crew with torchlights.

Sitharaman said she was responding to a request from Tamil for the rescue efforts.

Speaking to the media, said 15 persons have been rescued and search is on for others. The rescued trekkers have been admitted to nearby hospital.

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

Baldev said there is no motorable road to the spot where the fire raged.

She said 24 trekkers from and 12 from Erode and Tiruppur had gone to the Hills.

She said the trekking group consisted of eight men, 25 women and three children.

Baldev said the trekkers had camped at a place up in the hills on Saturday night and they decided to return on Sunday.

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

Speaking to the media, a trekker said: "Twenty-four people were from Chennai, of which 22 were girls and two boys. Going up was not possible. I jumped into a rocky pit and escaped. Those who jumped down escaped the fire."

Palaniswami, in a statement, said rescue operations are being carried out on a war footing.

A from told IANS that ambulances and fire tenders have been sent to the spot. Police and workers from a nearby tea estate are also helping in the rescue.

The said since the area does not have a good mobile network, full information on the efforts is not available. Senior fire service officials also have gone there.

The got information about the incident around 3 p.m., said another

"One of the trekking team members called 108 and alerted about the situation. The then called us," the official said.

Fire service personnel reached the forest armed with ropes, searchlights and other equipment to climb the hills. The official said the vehicles can ply only till

Up on the hills, there is a tourist spot called 'Otha Maram' (single tree).

"That has become a tourist spot now. From Bodinayakanur, is around 12 km. From there one has to trek up to spot," the added.

He said the trekking team could have climbed from the side also.

The official said it is not known how they reached the spot and if it was with or without the knowledge of the

Palaniswami, and other Ministers met the injured at the hospital.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, March 11 2018. 23:14 IST