Kurangani Forest Fire Operation underway. 15 people have been rescued so far

New Delhi, March 12: 16 commandos of Garud Commando Force and 4 choppers from the Indian Air Force, with one of them at stand by, at the search and rescue operation since this morning. Operation underway. 15 people have been rescued so far.

The Indian Air Force was pressed into service today to rescue college students caught in a forest fire in Tamil Nadu's Theni district, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

Sitharaman said she has asked the Southern Air Command to coordinate the search and rescue operation and evacuate those trapped in the fire.

'The @IAF_MCC are working with local authorities in Theni distt, Tamil Nadu to evacuate all trapped in the forest fire in Kurangani. Smt @nsitharaman has spoken to Collector of Theni Distt & Southern Air Command to co-ordinate a quick & effective Search & Rescue effort,' a tweet on the official Twitter handle of the defence minister said.

Around 20 college students are trapped in the forest fire near Kurangani.

The defence minister said that IAF has been pressed into service following a request from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami.

Sitharaman was approached by Palaniswami for help after the students were trapped in the forest fire.

The Southern Command is in touch with the Collector of Theni, she said. 

PTI