THENI: The massive forest fire in Kurangani hills of Tamil Nadu's Theni district, that claimed 9 lives, has now been doused, informed Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday.
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.
Deputy Chief Minister Panneerselvam announced compensation for the families of those dead in the fire.
தீவிபத்தில் உயிரிழந்தவர்கள் குடும்பத்தினருக்கு உரிய நிவாரணம் வழங்கப்படும். #TheniForestFire
— O Panneerselvam (@OfficeOfOPS) March 12, 2018
Sixteen commandos of Garud Commando Force and three choppers from the Indian Air Force choppers 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.
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.
Kurangani-Kozhukumalai hills are located near Bodinayakanur, about 40 km from here,
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.