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FOREST FIRE.........40 Trekkers Trapped by Fire, 9 Dead!

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Nine people have died after a group of nearly 40 trekkers were trapped by a forest fire in India.

The group were descending through the Theni forest in the Kurangani district of Tamil Nadu, southern India, when they found themselves surrounded by flames.

They strayed from the path and huddled in a narrow valley covered with tall lemon grass, which also caught fire.

A rescue operation is said to have saved 20 people but efforts are still ongoing.

India's defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Indian Air Force has been involved in the operation.

Most of the trekkers are believed to be from from Coimbatore and Tirupur districts, many of them students.

A senior police officer, who is a part of the operation, said the Indian Air Force's helicopters are ready to rescue those trapped in the fire.

According to the fire fighters, at least five among the rescued have suffered serious burn injuries.

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