Malaysia quake: Stranded 137 climbers to brave Mt Kinabalu descent

KOTA KINABALU, June 5 : The remaining 137 climbers on Mount Kinabalu are on the way down from the Laban Rata base.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun tweeted that the climbers who were stranded at the mountain’s summit following a 6.0-magnitude earthquake earlier had decided to continue the night descent with the help of local guides.

Search and rescue operations advisors said that descending in the dark was a safer option to staying on the mountain overnight with the possibility of more aftershocks.The climbers had to tread cautiously due to the damaged trail and darkness.

Masidi also tweeted that he would provide more details on the identities of the deceased tomorrow.s of 9.30pm, some 62 tourist climbers had arrived at the base. Two bodies were also brought down, believed to be a 12-year-old female Singaporean student and a 30-year old local mountain guide.

The exact number of climbers and guides given by agencies has been contradictory but it is largely believed that some 126 tourists are still making their way back to the Timpohon gate base with 32 guides.Among these, several more fatalities are expected.

Authorities have declined to release the identities and nationalities of the climbers involved but a display board at the Sabah Parks Headquarters detail 117 Malaysians, 38 Singaporeans, five Filipinos and Americans each, four Dutch, three British and Koreans among others

Meanwhile, another weak earthquake was felt on the mountain at 9.12pm measuring a magnitude of 4.3 on the Richter scale.

Meteorological department director Abdul Malik Tussin said that the earthquake of a depth of 10 occurred 9km northwest of Ranau.The tremors were also felt in Kundasang and Ranau.

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