The Indian Air Force (IAF) will be pressed to rescue students caught in a forest fire in Tamil Nadu’s Theni district, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced.
In a series of tweets, she said the Southern Command was in touch with the Theni District Collector.
Authorities in Tamil Nadu were engaged in a massive operation on Sunday to rescue 20 students caught in a forest fire at Top Station near Kurangani in Theni district.
A state government official camping in the area said: “We have not been able to physically verify the reports of deaths. The nearest government hospital in Bodinayakkanur has not reported any dead body being received.
Around 15 ambulances are on standby, and an adequate number of doctors and medical workers have been mobilised at Korangani and Bodinayakkanur to receive the victims being brought down from the hills.”
An official said since the area does not have a good mobile network, full information is not available. Senior fire service officials have gone there.
“One of the trekking team members called 108 Ambulance Service and alerted about their situation. The ambulance service then called us,” officials said.