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15 Marcha 2018, 01:46 | Crisanna Felipe
Indian Air Force has been instructed to help in rescue operations and evacuation
Eight persons, who were seriously injured, have been undergoing treatment and haven't yet been declared out of danger.
Describing both trekking expeditions as illegal, CM Edappadi K Palaniswami announced a probe into it and offered compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to families of those killed in the inferno.
The helicopters undertook a survey of the area and returned to neighbouring Madurai.
Speaking to the media on Sunday, Baldev had said more than 20 trekkers were from the Chennai Trekking Club (CTC) and the others from Erode and Tiruppur. Two people succumbed to injuries at the Government Rajaji Government Hospital in Madurai.
Several fire tenders have reached the spot and rescue operations are underway. He said minor fires broke out once or twice a year, but he had not seen a blaze as intensive as the one on Sunday in recent years.
The military was deployed to help with rescue efforts after the state government asked for assistance.
Deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam and ministers Dindigul C Srinivasan and C Vijayabaskar oversaw the rescue measures. He said permission for trekking is not given in the months of March, April and May as high forest ranges are dry, with the possibility of fires spreading fast, PTI reports.
After 21 sorties of firefighting and rescue operations, the six-hour long mission finally concluded at 11 a.m.
A defence press note said 16 Garud commandos were in action since the morning. The hill is located in Theni district, around 520 km from here.
The team included 25 women and three children, according to Thenidistrict collector Mariam Pallavi Baldev.Three of them had returned to the plains without going ahead further. "They should have either stopped these people from going in, considering there have been sporadic and widespread forest fire during the last few days in the region", said an official involved in the tough rescue operation, requesting anonymity.
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