Group resumes mountain training

Group resumes mountain training
A rescue helicopter unit from Mulu flying in to save a group of 16 Tiger Platoon members stranded about 3,200m on Mount Kinabalu near Kundasang.

Inspector Mohd Zaiful Zahari, 31, has been reported stable and his team would be making their way down from the mountain via an existing trail.

The group, whose Ops Tapa V High Altitude S.A.R Navigation exercise was halted on Wednesday, would be accompanied by seven mountain guides.

However, district police chief Deputy Superintendant Abdul Rahman Kasim said a rescue team would be on standby in case of emergency.

"When the group started their trek, they did not have guides with them and they did not follow the existing trail but created their own."

As of 6pm yesterday, the group made their way down to 2,438m where they rested before resuming their training. With the help of guides, they managed to find the mountain trail.

Last Sunday, the group trekked the mountain via Mesilau but their training was cut short after Zaiful fell sick four days ago.

They were forced to stop and rest at the Kautal route, about 3,200m above sea level, while waiting for a rescue team to arrive.

Zaiful was reported to have passed out several times. A helicopter unit was unable to reach the group due to thick fog.

Another rescue helicopter unit from Mulu was also flown in yesterday noon.

Meanwhile, Mount Kinabalu Guide Association chairman Suhaji Sumail said mountain climbers were required to have guides with them if they wished to climb the mountain.

This, he said, was no exception to the Tiger Platoon, adding that Sabah Parks guides were not informed about the group's activity.

"Even if they are carrying out exercise, by right, they should have guides who are expert on the routes to accompany them.

"Koutal is not an easy route. It takes a fit person four days to reach the peak while those who are not fit, would take a week."

Having more than 10 years experience in mountain guiding, he also takes local taboos seriously.

"If there is one advice the locals have for climbers, it is to respect the mountain and observe the taboos."

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