'We didn't take it seriously first'

By Naomi N Published on Mar 12, 2018 03:57 PM IST

Chennai: What was supposed to be a memorable experience turned ghastly for 37 trekkers in Theni.

As of now, at least nine persons-- four women, four men and one child, have been charred to death in Kurangani area in Theni district.

Speaking to News Today, Monisha (30), a resident of Madipakkam, recounted the incident and her escape.

"Apart from a group of trekkers, we were 24 of us. We had stayed at the same place," she said. Her group did not have a guide as some of them had gone trekking to the same place in the past.

"At 2.30 pm, while trekking, we saw smoke, but did not take it seriously, until we saw fire. The one who was guiding us took us on a detour, we kept following, but the fire was spreading too fast and we couldn't do anything."

When asked how she had escaped, Monisha said, "I rolled out on the other direction. Here I saw eight other people. We escaped from there and met Forest Officials."

Sahana (20), who also had a miraculous escape from Chrompet, had been an enthusiastic trekker. A second year student of Ethiraj College, she signed up with Chennai Trekking Club (CTC) for this Women and Girls trekking experience on Saturday.

"Just last moth she went to Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh, for few days of trekking. She is a member of CTC. She is expected to reach home at night," says her father Kalyanaraman. Monisha and Sahana are part of the seven who escaped with no injuries at all.

Of the two trekkers group, one was of 13 people hailing from Tiruppur and Erode, and another group of 24 people were from Chennai. The Chennai group had started to Theni on 9 March, Friday. Most of them are students and working professionals.