Sabah quake: Death toll 19, say SAR officials

Sabah quake: Death toll 19, say SAR officials

KUNDASANG - Search and rescue officials believed the death toll from Friday's earthquake at Mount Kinabalu is 19 with the recovery of 17 bodies on top of the mountain on Saturday.

The officials said they did not expect any more bodies to be found as all the missing climbers have been accounted for.

The first bodies - of mountain trainer Robbie Sapinggi, 31, and 12-year-old Singapore student Wee Ying Peony - were found and taken down to the base camp at Sabah Parks on Friday evening.

The officials said the bodies were being winched by helicopters and being flown to Kota Kinabalu.

They said three of the bodies were flown to the Queen Elizabath Hospital at about 4pm, and other bodies are expected to be taken in batches.

As of 4pm Saturday, Ranau police chief Deputy Supt Mohd Farhan Lee said they have recovered 13 bodies.

"The search is still on for six more," he told reporters.

The Straits Times had reported that a 12-year-old girl, identified as Peony Wee Ying Ping, was killed during her overseas school trip to Mount Kinabalu when the 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck.

A statement from the Ministry of Education (MOE) said: "We are deeply saddened to inform that the Malaysian authorities have retrieved the body of a 12-year-old female, which has been verified by the next-of-kin as Wee Ying Ping Peony from Tanjong Katong Primary School. MOE and other government officials are in Kota Kinabalu, and will provide assistance and support to Peony's family during this difficult period."

Singaporeans who know of any loved ones and friends in Sabah that may require consular assistance can contact the Singapore High Commission in Kuala Lumpur at +60-16-661 0400 or singhc_kul@sgmfa.gov.sg. Alternatively, they may contact the MFA Duty Officer (24-hours) at 6379 8800 / 8855 or mfa_duty_officer@mfa.gov.sg.

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