Trio back home after Nepal quake ends Everest mission

Trio back home after Nepal quake ends Everest mission

Three members of Singapore's Everest team arrived home yesterday evening, after a massive earthquake in Nepal on April 25 ended the team's dream of scaling the world's highest peak.

But the experience has not put an end to their plans.

Next week, teacher Yusrina Yaakob, 28, and brothers Zulkifli Latiff, 42, and Ismail Latiff, 36, both Singapore Civil Defence Force officers - together with two other members - will be discussing with their sponsors whether they should continue with the mission.

All three, from the Aluminaid Team Singapore Everest 2015, were at the Everest base camp when quake-triggered avalanches swept away part of the camp.

Mr Zulkifli said: "Thankfully, our tents were far from where the avalanche hit. The situation was chaotic. Some people were missing, others lost their lives."

However, he added that the incident would not deter the team from heading back. "We are now better prepared for such situations in future."

They decided to end their mission to scale Everest last Wednesday, after consultations with their families and sponsors.

Yesterday, about 40 people were at Changi Airport Terminal 2 to receive the trio, who stepped out of the arrival hall at 8.50pm. They included family members, friends and sponsors.

Ms Yusrina said: "I am just glad to be home, and glad to be alive."

Her mother, Madam Rosnani Ismail, 50, said: "I am glad that she is back safely. During the past few days, I was so worried for her safety. I couldn't sleep and I couldn't eat."

Their other two team members, Singapore Management University economics graduate Seumas Yeo and computer programmer Hilwan Idrus, were also at the arrival hall.

Mr Yeo returned to Singapore on April 29, following surgery at Norvic International Hospital in Kathmandu. He had sustained an injury on April 15 during the team's Lobuche summit climb, and left the base camp on April 18. The 27-year-old was staying on the second floor of the Gaju Suite Hotel when the earthquake happened.

Mr Yeo said: "The room started to shake. People were shouting, things were breaking, and I was praying that the ceiling wouldn't collapse on me."

Mr Hilwan, the team captain, did not make the trip after suffering a stroke last year due to low oxygen levels and dehydration during a training expedition.

The team had earlier planned to scale Mount Everest to fly the Singapore flag to mark the nation's Golden Jubilee.

Mr Hilwan said: "We are not going to give up on our mission to scale Everest. But right now, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Nepal."

calyang@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on May 5, 2015.
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