Singapore man dies after falling off Mount Kinabalu

A SINGAPOREAN fell to his death while training for a competitive climb on Mount Kinabalu, Malaysian police said yesterday.

Rescue workers believe that Woon Tai Kiang fell 150m into a ravine after slipping off the trail.

He is believed to have died of serious head injuries, according to the police.

"He was found dead. It appears to be an accident and there is no suspicion of foul play for now. But we are waiting for the post-mortem to confirm this.

"He was found with severe head injuries," district police chief Mohd Farhan Lee Abdullah told The Straits Times.

He added that the police had not been able to locate the passport of Mr Woon, who they said looked to be in his mid-30s.

Mr Woon had been training on Saturday for the 29th Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon but failed to report back to Sabah Parks authorities at midnight.

The annual event is set to take place on Oct 16 after it was put on hold following the earthquake on June 5 last year.

According to Bernama news agency, park officers and a mountain search and rescue (Mosar) team proceeded to make checks at Laban Rata, the guesthouse closest to the summit, and other lodgings around Mount Kinabalu.

But they called off the search because of bad weather and low visibility due to fog.

The Fire and Rescue Department joined park rangers after 6am yesterday to resume the search and found the climber at about 7.30am.

Mr Woon's body was found in a ravine near Sayat-Sayat point, about 3,700m above sea level. The checkpoint is the last stop before reaching the 4,096m summit at Low's Peak.

It took rescuers about six hours to bring the body down the mountain. They turned over the body to the police before it was sent to a hospital for a post-mortem.

Mr Farhan said Mr Woon's family has been contacted and family members are on their way to Sabah.

The trail to Low's Peak was reopened in December after the June earthquake which killed 18 people.

The quake also claimed the lives of seven pupils and two teachers from Tanjong Katong Primary School as well as a Singaporean guide.

Sabah Parks closed the mountain after the tragedy and later opened the trail to Panalaban at an altitude of 3,314m in September.

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