5 die in forest fire in southern India

Indian Air Force has been instructed to help in rescue operations and evacuation

The DC confirmed that among the deceased are four women, four men, and a child. Vijayalakshmi was part of the 24-member team which had gone trekking organised by the Chennai Trekking Club.

The trekking team had 36 people, including three children. All rescued have been admitted to Bodinayyakanur government hospital for treatment.

Sitharaman remained in touch with the District Collector and directed the Indian Airforce to co-ordinate in the rescue operations.

"Without permission, they embarked on a trekking expedition".

On permission for the trekking expedition, the officer said the forest department will know best about possible violations. "Trekkers should climb hills only after taking the government's nod". Chief Minister K. Palaniswami ordered a probe into the incident.

The reproduction of the story/photograph in any form will be liable for legal action. Anyone visiting the forest would have to listen to a presentation detailing how to prevent forest fires and rescue measures to be adopted.

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"Responding to the request from the Hon @CMOTamilNadu on the forest -fire related issue -20 students are caught in Kurangani, Theni district".

The website of the organisation also did not have details of those managing its affairs.

It said it had 40,000-odd members and that all its activities were "free (and) expenses (were) shared equally among participants". Locals said the fire broke out at noon on Sunday. The people who suffered serious burn injuries will be provided Rs one lakh, while those with mild injuries will get Rs 50,000 as compensation. "Though we can't confirm the total death toll, one dead body has been brought from the hills and there are other dead bodies as per the rescue team", said health minister C. Vijayabaskar.

O Panneerselvam at the Theni govt hospital to meet those injured in the fire.

The IAF pressed four helicopters and 16 Garud commandoes, who took medicines along with them, to find and rescue the trapped trekkers.

Theni SP, V Baskaran, said the trekkers probably picked the wrong path, which made the situation worse.

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