Toll in Tamil Nadu's Theni forest fire rises to 12, tour operator held

Twenty-seven-year-old Divya Viswanathan, who was battling for life at a private hospital for 3 days breathed her last on Wednesday evening, increasing the death toll in Kurangani forest fire to 12.

Published: 15th March 2018 05:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th March 2018 06:15 AM   |  A+A-

The massive forest fire in the hills near Korangani, in Theni district on Sunday night | P Mahendren

By Express News Service

MADURAI, ERODE: Twenty-seven-year-old Divya Viswanathan, who was battling for life at a private hospital for three days breathed her last on Wednesday evening, increasing the death toll in Kurangani forest fire to 12.

A native of Kinathukadavu near Pollachi in Coimbatore district, Divya had gone for a trek with her husband Vibin, a native of Marthandam to Kurangani during which fate struck them. While Vibin was brought down the hills dead already, Divya was rushed to Grace Kennett Foundation here in Madurai on Monday morning with 90% burn injuries.

She who was in life support since Tuesday, suffered a cardiac arrest and multiple organ failure on Wednesday, following which she breathed her last.

The couple, who met and fell in love during trekking expeditions were said to have trekked the terrains in the Himalayan region. Divya, the youngest of the two sisters and an engineer, worked in Chennai for three years but later quit job to look after saw mill business and family properties after the demise of her father.
After taking Divya’s hand in marriage, Vibin too helped her manage her business and properties for the last 1.5 years.

Tour operator held

Theni district police on Wednesday arrested Prabhu (42), of Chennimalai, in connection with the Theni forest fire accident. Prabhu, owner of a tourism firm Tour De India in Thindal, Erode, was booked on the charge of arranging a trekking expedition in the Kurangani forest area between last Friday and Sunday without getting permission from Forest department. The tour had been arranged in honour of International Women’s Day for which he had invited participants via Facebook.

He had a group of 12 people from Erode and Tirupur districts, of whom the couple Vivek and Divya, Vivek’s friend Thamizhselvan of Mahathmapuram, near Eorde, and Divya, of Vattakalvalsu, died in the accident. Prabhu had said that he had paid `200 per person to the Forest staff at the Kurangani check post along with a guide named Senthil. Prabhu escaped the fire and managed to lead a few of his team to safety as well.

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