Sabah tremors: Rescue operations to help stranded climbers halted

Sabah tremors: Rescue operations to help stranded climbers halted

KOTA KINABALU - Sabah Parks is seeking to deploy helicopters to help evacuate about 100 stranded climbers and rangers at the summit plateau of Mount Kinabalu.

Sabah Parks chairman Tengku Datuk Zainal Adlin said assistance from the Royal Malaysian Air Force and private firms for helicopters was being sought.

But none were immediately available to carry out rescue operations as rocks continue to roll down in the aftermath of the earthquake.

"We are doing all we can. We are prepared but the problem is availability of helicopters,'' he said.

On whether the landmark Donkey's Ears Peak (two pinnacles) near the Low's Peak had broken, he said: "That is what I am hearing, at the moment, I can't confirm.''

Adlin said the maximum number of climbers allowed up the mountain was 192 per day but it could be around 100 or so.

"We do not have the figures as the park officials are working quickly to help stranded climbers,'' he said.

So far, there have been no reports of any casualties.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) geologist Dr Felic Tongkul urged people not to spread rumours of a second quake though aftershocks were expected to continue in the active seismological area.

He said Friday's earthquake was the third such of a similar magnitude since the 60s.

The last such earthquake was in Kg Rugading in Ranau in 1991.

He said the epicentre of thr 5.9 earthquake was located near the western part of the mountain facing Kg Kiua in Kota Belud.

Meanwhile, the road between Kota Kinabalu and Ranau has not been affected by the quake.

But landslips have been reported in Kundasang. Several buildings had cracks due to the incident.

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