Nine trekkers, mostly techies and engineering students, have died in Karnataka's forests in the last five years. In almost all the cases, the victims had thrown caution to the wind.
Kiran Jayanth (20), a software professional, had a massive cardiac arrest on a trekking expedition near Bandaje Falls in Belthangadi taluk on December 11 last year. A couple of months later, Naveen Kumar (21) a student of BMS College of Engineering, drowned in the Kuttichatta Falls in Kabbinale reserve forest area on February 5.
Both these incidents have raised concerns about young amateurs venturing into unfamiliar and risky terrains in an adventurous spirit.
Kempu Hole tragedy
People still remember the horrendous end of three Bangalore trekkers — Vasantha Kumar, Bhaskar Babu and Teju Murthy — who were washed away in the Kempu Hole in Sakleshapur on June 1, 2006. Their skeletal remains were found between Aramane Betta Estate in Ittigegoodu in Sakleshapur on February 19, 2007. The trio had entered the forest in pouring rain after parking their car in front of the Gadi Chowdeshwari Temple at the Dakshina Kannada border.
Besides these five, four others lost their lives in different parts of the State.
People, especially software professionals and students, imperil themselves because they don't do their homework, said a police sub-inspector in Hassan, who is a trekker. Most trekkers are inexperienced and don't abide by the rules. They don't even carry food, first aid, water bottles and route maps, he said.
After the recent deaths, the Forest Department is mooting stringent action. “Entering the reserve forest is an offence. In spite of acute staff shortage, we have intensified patrolling along the borders,” said a Sakleshpur forest warden.