S'porean hikers lost in Malaysian jungle remained positive during ordeal

S'porean hikers lost in Malaysian jungle remained positive during ordeal
From left to right: Valen Tan, Sebastian Chua, Nigel Quek and Lim Jing Yang

Separated from the rest of their hiking group, four Singaporeans found themselves lost for 10 hours deep in the Malaysian rainforest.

They were caught in a downpour and had to trudge through muddy undergrowth before finally reaching an oil palm plantation.

One of the men, Mr Lim Jing Yang, 27, told The New Paper yesterday that the adventure, though challenging, had a silver lining: It strengthened their friendship.

Mr Lim, who declined to give his occupation, said: "We were always in good spirits throughout the trek. What can pointing fingers at each other resolve? Nothing!

"So we just worked together in figuring a way out."

Mr Lim and his three friends, Mr Valen Tan Tao Kuan, 19, Mr Nigel Quek Wen Cong, 22 and Mr Sebastian Chua Han Hong, 25, had joined about 35 other hikers for a trek up Gunung Angsi in Negeri Sembilan on Sunday morning.

The group, made up of about 20 Malaysians and 15 Singaporeans, started the trek at around 8am. They reached the summit of the 824m-high mountain around three hours later.

The mountain is in Ulu Bendul Recreational Park, about 20km from the state capital of Seremban.

BROKE AWAY

For the return hike, Mr Lim and his three friends decided to break away from the main group and descend via the more scenic Ulu Bendul waterfall trail.

To find their way around, they followed some white plastic markers tied to the trees.

But they lost sight of the markers after navigating around a large fallen tree.

At around 1pm, it started pouring so they used a mobile phone to call the forest rangers for help.

"They (the rangers) gave us very good advice. They told us to follow a river, which we did after the rain stopped at around 4pm," he said.

At about 9pm, they arrived at an oil palm plantation. After skirting a fence, they discovered that it was the hostel of an electronics factory.

They spoke to a security guard there, who alerted the fire department.

Mr Chua, a student, said: "The officers arrived, took down our particulars and gave us a ride to the Ulu Bendul ranger office.

"I didn't fancy spending a night in a jungle after seeing a herd of wild boars run past us. But other than a few scratches here and there, we were all fine."

Mr Ahmad Mukhlis Mukhtar, operations deputy director of the Negeri Sembilan Fire and Rescue Department, said the officers were alerted to the incident at around 7.30pm on Sunday.

Harian Metro reported that 29 officers were deployed to look for the Singaporeans.

Mr Chua told TNP that soon after they arrived at the ranger's office, they contacted one of Mr Tan's friends, who drove from Singapore to Negeri Sembilan to pick them up.

They got back to Singapore at around 3.30am yesterday.

He said: "I personally felt quite bad for making so many people worry about us. I don't think any of us would have survived by ourselves.


This article was first published on Jan 13, 2015.
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