Trekkers saw people die in front of their eyes

By P T Usha Published on Mar 12, 2018 03:36 PM IST

Chennai: "The incident is devastating and we never imagined such situation," says Vijayalakshmi (27) from Mudichur, one of the survivors of yesterday's tragedy, the Kurangani hills fire.

"We were divided into two groups - one had 24 members and the other, 12. As soon as we saw the fire, we did not know what to do. There was no time to think. We just ran without any idea and there was huge chaos and everyone scattered. Some of us jumped into a shallow pit nearby and only two of us escaped with minor injuries. We saw others die in front of us. I am still in shock and cannot come out of it," the young trekker tells News Today.

"Even before we jumped into the pit on the hillside, we saw that some of our friends had suffered extensive burns," she said.

Vijayalakshmi was on way to Chennai with her parents, who had gone to bring her back home.

Vijayalakshmi believes that those who were at the top of the mountain fell prey to the fire.

The father of Nivya Prakauti (24) from Nanganallur who has suffered nearly 60 per cent burns, says, "My daughter is getting treated at a private hospital now. The incident is devastating. She was so happy when she left for the trekking expedition. We did not expect such a sad ending. Our family is under shock. We are praying for our daughter as of now, which is the only thing we can do."

The distraught father also said the trekking club (Chennai Trekking Club, Palavakkam) lacked proper safety measures and that they had taken up the exercise without a proper guide, which led to the tragedy.