11 dead in forest fire in India’s Theni district

Eleven trekkers, including six women, died in a forest fire that tore through the hills above the tourist spot Kurangani in Theni district on the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border in southern India on Sunday afternoon, Theni DYSP told media. The death toll may rise as three of those admitted in hospitals with severe burn injuries are in a very critical condition. The condition of another 17 with burn injuries is serious. Some 39 trekkers, including three children, were on various locations on the hills when the fire broke out around 2 pm. Plantation workers were the first to come to the rescue of the fire victims. They immediately shifted trekkers with minor injuries to various hospitals and waited for the medical team or Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel to move others with serious injuries. IAF personnel and police called off their search operations on Monday evening. Since summer is at its peak, the forest fire spread rapidly. Those who left the trekking path and dashed blindly into the bushes suffered maximum burns. Students from Coimbatore and Erode were taking training in Kurangai-Kozhuku hill area when the fire broke out.