Local guide died to save tourists: Father

Local guide died to save tourists: Father
CARRIED: The coffin of Mr Robbi Sapinggi carried on a bamboo pole for about 1km to a nearby cemetery.

KINABALU TRAGEDY - Local mountain guide Robbi Sapinggi, (inset) 31, died trying to save tourists, his father said.

Speaking to The New Paper before his son's funeral yesterday, Mr Sapinggi Ladsou, 56, said his son had been leading a group of tourists up Mount Kinabalu when the earthquake struck.

The bodies of Mr Sapinggi, who has been a guide for 10 years, and Tanjong Katong Primary School student Peony Wee were the first to be brought down from Mount Kinabalu on Friday evening.

Mr Ladsou was told of his son's final moments by another son, Binker, who was also at the mountain when the quake happened.

He said: "When he saw the rocks falling down, he pushed the guests to safety, but got injured.

"After that, he couldn't walk, but he told the guests to leave him there and to go down the mountain to safety."

At the foot of the mountain, Mr Binker Sapinggi, who is also a guide, had asked the climber where Robbi was.

Unable to speak, the climber wrote "Go help Robbi" on a piece of paper.

Mr Robbi Sapinggi, the third son in a family of 10 children, came from a family of mountain guides.

His brothers Binker and Henry lead climbers up Mount Kinabalu regularly while his father, Mr Ladsou, leads one group a week.

The family is well known in the tourism community and scores of mourners, including local politicians, visited the family's house in Kampong Kiau.

The house is at the end of a quiet hamlet, about one and a half hour's drive out of Kota Kinabalu and accessible only by a steep rocky road.

At about 2.20pm, after a short service, about 10 mourners helped carry Mr Sapinggi's coffin from his house to a waiting hearse, an effort that took them nearly 20 minutes as they navigated the steep rocky path.

Tied onto a bamboo pole, the coffin could not fit into the hearse and was carried about 1km to the nearby cemetery, a final service for the man who gave his life to save others.

This article was first published on June 08, 2015.
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