Theni forest fire: a trek that ended in tragedy

Grief-stricken relatives identify bodies of loved ones

A body being carried by rescue personnel.  

The mortuary at the Government Medical College Hospital in Theni district witnessed scenes of inconsolable grief on Monday, as family members and relatives of the nine persons who were killed in the forest fires in Kurangani endured the distressing task of identifying the charred bodies of the victims. Throughout the day, grieving family members visited the mortuary and confirmed the identities of their loved ones, following which post-mortem was conducted and the bodies handed over to the respective families.

Wailing inconsolably, Subha’s father Selvaraj said he had been told that she was going on a trekking expedition organised by her company. “Since she told me that her company was organising it, I thought they must have carefully undertaken all security measures,” he said.

Thangaraj, father of Tamilselvan of Chennai, said, “Yesterday noon, he spoke to us over phone and informed us that they were climbing down. His friends tell me he got charred when he tried to save others.”

According to Ravindranath, Chief Medical Officer of the Government Hospital in Bodinaickanur, 12 patients were brought on Sunday night, of which 10 were treated as outpatients. Two were referred to hospitals in Theni and Madurai.

As of Monday evening, 13 persons were being treated at hospitals in Madurai, one was airlifted from Madurai to Coimbatore for further treatment, and two were discharged.

Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and Forest Minister Dindigul C. Sreenivasan visited the scene of the tragedy and the Theni hospital. Health and Family Welfare Minister C. Vijaya Baskar and Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan inspected the mortuary at the Theni hospital in the evening.

List of deceased

The deceased were identified as D. Vibin, 30, a native of Unnamalaikadai in Kanniyakumari district and a resident of Coimbatore; S. Subha, 28, of Thittakudi in Cuddalore district; T. Hemalatha, 30, of Pudhu Vilangudi in Madurai; J. Punitha, 26, a resident of JCK Nagar in Chengalpattu; T. Tamilselvan, 26, and N. Vivek, 26, of Kavindapadi in Erode district; K. Akila, 27, of Kumbakonam; R. Arun Prabhakaran, 28, a native of Maharajapuram near Watrap in Virudhunagar district and a resident of Poonamallee in Chennai; and M. Divya, 28, from Valaiyapalayam in Erode district. T. Nisha, 30, a resident of Velachery in Chennai, who was referred to the Government Rajaji Hospital with 100% burns, died at the hospital.

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Printable version | May 13, 2021 6:15:23 PM |

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