Down decades, vast forest tracts along the Western Ghats have been tempting thousands of youngsters — often ill equipped and ill advised — to trek in the thickly wooded areas.
Often, informal groups entering the forests — like in the case of the three youngsters entering the Bannerghatta forests on Saturday — don’t have the necessary approval from the Forest Department, violating the provisions of Karnataka Forest Act and Wildlife Act besides risking lives. Over the years, at least a dozen fatal accidents have been reported in Karnataka’s forests, mostly involving youthful adventure activities.
Three washed away
One of the worst instances was the horrific end of three Bangalore trekkers who perished in the dense forests in Sakleshpur. Ignoring heavy rain in the area, Vasantha Kumar, Bhaskar Babu and Teju Murthy entered the forests on June 1, 2006 only to be washed away in the Kempu Hole. Their skeletal remains were found on February 19, 2007. As recently as in February this year, Naveen Kumar (21), a student of BMS College of Engineering, who ventured into the Kabbinale reserve forests, was washed away in Kuttichatta falls, drawing widespread concern about young lives being lost in Karnataka forests.
Similarly, software professional Kiran Jayanth (20) died near Bandaje falls in Belthangadi taluk last December after suffering a massive cardiac arrest.
Falls to death
At Skandagiri, near Nandi Hills, Raja Baban Singh (30) from West Bengal and employed with an information technology company here, fell to his death while trekking in the steep hillock in December last year.
Attempting a risky trek to watch sunrise near the Yoganandishwara Temple, near here, software engineer Jeevan Saurav, native of Orissa, fell into a deep gorge and died instantly in March 2011.
In a first-of-its-kind tragedy, the bodies of two foreigners, who were on a water rafting adventure, were found in the Cauvery river.
Michael Easton and Ian Turton were on a rafting expedition without permission from the Forest Department officials.
Their bodies were found a couple of days after they were reported missing.