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Theni Forest Fire: First survivor of the tragedy speaks

Theni Forest Fire: First survivor of the tragedy speaks

The minister said he was praying for the fast recovery of those who were injured.

"The forest department not issuing alerts and not preventing them (trekkers) from undertaking the expedition is the reason for the loss of lives", he said. The dead included six women; 16 were hospitalized in critical condition in Madurai and neighbouring areas and 10 others returned home after being administered first aid. With the death of one more person at the Hospital in the evening, the number of people who had died in the tragedy rose to 10. "So far there is no confirmation about casualties (death)", she said to a question from reporters on whether there was any death. However, tribals and some local villagers rushing in to volunteer help have been providing invaluable support to the rescue teams that took time to reach the spot braving the fire. He said a detailed probe will be held into the accident.

Deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam and ministers Dindigul C Srinivasan and C Vijayabaskar oversaw the rescue measures.

The toll in the forest fire in Theni district has risen to 11 with one more person succumbing to burns even as a forest officer has been suspended and a tour guide arrested. The IAF mounted a search and rescue operation on Sunday. Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that from Monday early dawn the Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters put out the blaze in a limited area to enable rescue and airlift operations.

The trekkers caught in a forest fire in the Western Ghat's Kurangani Hill ranges did not have permission for an expedition, Tamil Nadu chief minister Edapaddi Palaniswami said on Monday.

Of the injured, five are in Theni and the rest in Madurai, he said, adding he will visit the injured at Madurai later in the day.

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.

K. Sathyagopal, commissioner of revenue administration, said 17 of those rescued had been hospitalised.


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