Following the forest fire in Tamil Nadu, the Karnataka forest department has issued an order "temporarily" banning trekking in the state forests until rain showers. He said a detailed probe will be held into the accident. Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and the local police pointed out that forest fires are quite common in the hills during summer. 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.
It may be recalled the state government had said the trekkers had not obtained required permission for the expedition.
Officials confirmed a total of 27 people are now receiving treatment at nearby hospitals for burn injuries. A rescue operation involving Indian Air Force helicopters was launched.
A woman leaves the Theni Government Medical College hospital after meeting a relative who was injured in the Kurangani forest fire. It was also reported that the trekkers took another route and did not follow the trail they had paid the fee for.
PMK leader Ramadoss wondered if all the rules were duly followed by the authorities concerned and the company that arranged for the trekking expedition.
The condition of four patients in GRH is highly critical, said it's Dean Dr.D.Maruthu Pandian.
According to the minister, two helicopters have been engaged in the task of moving the bodies. The bodies have been sent for identification and would be handed over to the relatives after autopsy.
IAF choppers have been pressed into service for rescue ops. It returned to Sulur Air Base on completing the task.
Relatives of the hikers grieve outside the hospital in Theni. The police revealed the name of the deceased as, K Akila alias Akilandeswari, 24, T Hemalatha, 30, B Punitha, 28, S Subha, 28, R Arun alias Arunprabakaran, Vipin, 30 and T Nisha- all belonging to Chennai, and M Divya, Vivek, Tamilselvan and V Divya of Erode. "I hope that those who are injured recover soon", he added.
The adventure was part of the Woman's Day activity that was celebrated on Thursday.
Theni district, where the deaths took place, has witnessed persistent deficits in winter rainfall over the past few years.