The massive fire in Kurangani hills in Tamil Nadu’s Theni district has claimed at least nine lives. Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharam confirmed earlier on Monday that the fire had been doused. Apart from other agencies, the Indian Air Force was also deployed to battle the raging fire in the forest.
Helicopters of the Indian Air Force with underslung Bambi Bucket were deployed. A video of the operation was released by news agency ANI.
— ANI (@ANI) March 12, 2018
The rescue operations continued throughout Sunday night and on Monday morning.
“Sixteen Garuds walked up and reached there at 3 am. They rescued few people at night. At the moment, the garuds are trying to lift the dead bodies to a higher plain. Two helicopters will bring the bodies down. One helicopter has doused the fire,” said Nirmala Sitharaman.
The Tamil Nadu government, meanwhile, announced compensation for the families of those dead in the fire.
Sixteen commandos of Garud Commando Force and three choppers from the Indian Air Force were deployed for rescue operations. Another IAF chopper is on stand by as the search and rescue operations continue.
Nearly 27 people have been rescued so far, informed State Health Minister C Vijayabaskar, adding that medical assistance has been provided to those injured.
A 12-member group from Tiruppur and Erode and another comprising 24 people from Chennai, on a trekking camp, reached Kurangani hills yesterday. There were 25 women and three children were present.
Kurangani-Kozhukumalai hills are located near Bodinayakanur. Officials of Forest, Fire, Police, medical and rescue teams had gone to the spot and were being assisted by the local tribals and employees of nearby tea estates, Baldev said adding the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel were also engaged in the operations.