Authorities in Tamil Nadu were engaged in a massive operation on Sunday to rescue some students caught in a forest fire in Theni district, with Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman saying the IAF has also been pressed into service.
The official said since the area does not have a good mobile network, full information is not available. Senior fire service officials have gone there.
Fire service personnel reached there armed with ropes, searchlights and other equipment to climb the hills. The official said the vehicles can ply only till Kurangani Hills.
Up on the hills, there is a tourist spot called 'Otha Maram' (single tree).
He said the trekking team could have climbed from the Kerala 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 Forest Department.
In her latest tweet, Sitharaman said she had spoken to the Theni District Collector and around 10-15 students were coming down to the foothills.
An Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter from Sulur base has gone to the spot. The helicopter will carry out a survey on the spread of the fire and its intensity.
Early on Monday, an IAF helicopter will fly to the spot and carry out a rescue mission, if necessary.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)