Kurangani forest fire leaves 10 dead; 8 are seriously injured

20 students caught in forest fire in Tamil Nadu rescue operations

20 students caught in forest fire in Tamil Nadu rescue operations

Kerala Forest Department on Monday banned trekking in forest areas with immediate effect after wildfire claimed several lives in the Korangani Hills near Theni in Kerala-Tamil Nadu border area on Sunday.

At least nine people died and 27 had to be rescued as the raging inferno spread through the Kurangani hills in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The deceased have been identified as K Akila, 24, T Hemalatha, 30, B Punitha, 28, S Subha, 28, R Arun, Vipin, 30 and T Nisha - all hailing from Chennai, and Vivek, Tamilselvan and V Divya of Erode. But, as per Chennai Trekking Club (CTC), the trekkers deviated from the route to escape the forest fire.

The condition of four patients in GRH is highly critical, said it's Dean Dr.D.Maruthu Pandian.

Six people are still believed to be trapped in the blaze. Eight trekkers were sent to the circuit house.

More than 20 injured were reportedly taken to Kathmandu Medical College for treatment of which seven were brought dead at the hospital. Palaniswami said soon after he came to know of the fire on Sunday, he directed steps for their safe rescue.

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As summer months are the peak tourist season, the Department offices across Karnataka are flooded with applications from wildlife enthusiasts seeking permission for trekking.

O Panneerselvam at the Theni govt hospital to meet those injured in the fire. "I offer my deep condolences to the families of those who are mourning the loss of their near and dear ones", Mr Purohit said, according to a Raj Bhavan communique.

The military was deployed to help with rescue efforts after the state government asked for assistance.

An official of Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services department told IANS that the terrain was tough and the approach to the accident spot was not motorable.

Theni district collector Pallavi Badev meets children, who survived the fire.

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