KUNDASANG - Earthquake search and rescue (SAR) teams are hoping to find and recover all victims by Sunday evening.
Sabah Fire and Rescue Department director Nordin Pauzi said the SAR team have made four helicopter trips to Mount Kinabalu as of 8am Sunday.
"Today our focus is on 100 per cent mobilisation of manpower and logistics using helicopters. Hopefully we are able to complete the SAR mission in seven trips," he said.
According to Nordin, about 55 officers from various government agencies including the Fire and Rescue department, armed forces, Civil Defence department (JPAM), the police Generation Operations Force (PGA) and mountain guides have been deployed for the mission.
"Our operation today is focused on finding the victims. Since we have mobilised full force to recover the victims, we hope to find by them by noon and we will transport them to the airport terminal by evening," said Nordin.
He added that the helicopters will land at Km 7.5 of Paka, and that four bodies had been picked up at Km 4 of Paka on Sunday.
"We will ascend to Laban Rata to continue the search at a higher spot. We will gather the victims at Laban Rata. With the help of the mountain guides, we have identified the spots where they (the remaining two victims) might be," he explained.
Nordin said the number of helicopter flights that could be carried out are limited due to weight restrictions.
"When travelling at a high altitude, we can only transport a minimal number of officers to the spots.
He added that some of the victims might be in hard-to-reach places, saying that this was one of the challenges faced by SAR teams.
"We have sent fully equipped experts to carry out the task," he added.