20 students trapped in Kurangani forest fire

20 students trapped in Kurangani forest fire

Cheryl Sanders
March 12, 2018

Several students trekking in Kurankani hills in Theni were caught in the forest fire.

Theni: Over 20 students, who were part of a mountain climbing training camp, are believed to be trapped in a massive forest fire in Kurangani hills in the Theni district of Tamil Nadu on Sunday. He said rescue operations were in full swing.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who was approached by Chief Minister K Palaniswami for help to rescue them and been in touch with Theni District Collector.

After staying overnight at an estate in Kozhukumalai, they started their return journey to the plains today when they heard about the sudden forest fire and got separated while attempting to find a safe way. "As the fire surrounded us, we all got split and some of us jumped into a pit and escaped", she said, adding that they did not know what happened to other as one of the local person guided them to safety.

"I have spoken to the district collector, he has communicated that 10-15 students have been rescued".

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday said the commandos will be deployed in rescue mission. Alleging that miscreants were behind the fire at Kurangani, Palaniswami said forest department will strengthen security in forest areas after a review. "They were trapped in the fire as they were coming down to Bodinayakkanur via the Korangani area, a popular route which takes a day", said a senior forest official. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has been sent to Kurangani hills in Top Station near Kurangani to rescue the trapped students.

The rescue operation is still continuing.

"Medicines and food also have been sent to the spot. People from tribal villages nearby are also helping in the rescue operation", he said.

They included 25 women and three children. Fire tenders have also reached the spot to rescue the students, an HT report said.

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