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Malaysia's highest mountain might have been hit by Earth Quake

Written by  Published in Asia Friday, 05 June 2015 13:34
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Kathmandu,June 5 (CNS) -- Fears are mounting  that there might have been casualties in the aftermath of the earthquake that hit Sabah on Friday.

Officials, however, are not commenting on unconfirmed reports that at least five people on the summit area of Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia's highest mounth might have been hit by rockfalls after the mountain shook for nearly a minute. They might have been killed or injured, initial reports said.

From Kundasang town, a Malaysian doctor, who managed to return to the Mount Kinabalu’s base camp, confirmed that at least one person has died and two others are injured following the earthquake. Pahang-based Dr Rezlan Abdul Rahman, who was descending from the mountain, said he confirmed that one woman was dead after he felt her pulse.“Two other women with her were also injured. They were still at Laban Rata as we proceeded to come down,’’ he said. Dr Rezlan said he was told that the three women were on the ropes when the quake hit and the ropes came loose from the mountain. 

“They were apparently swung out before hitting back to the mountain,” he said. They were said to be among about 100 climbers stranded on the summit.

Bomba and police teams, including dog squads, were seen heading towards the park area while helicopters were being sought to airlift stranded climbers and mountain guides. 

Most of the climbers were descending after reaching the 4,095m peak before sunrise when the earthquake struck at 7.17am, with boulders and rocks from the granite surface dislodging and rolling down rapidly. 

It is learnt that two chalets – Panar Laban and Laban Rata – were also damaged but officials are still trying to ascertain the severity of the damage. Some reports claimed that the Panar Laban chalet had been destroyed.Initial reports from the Malaysian Meteorological Services Department said the 5.9 magnitude quake struck 16km northwest of Ranau. 

Meanwhile an Armed Forces’ EC725 Eurocopter has been dispatched to Mount Kinabalu to provide aid for the stranded climbers, said Defence Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein. He said the helicopter left at 12.30pm Friday, bringing food and water for climbers stranded on the mountain following rockfalls and landslides after the tremors. Chief Minister Musa Aman, who is visiting Shanghai, China has advised the public to remain alert and cautious following the earthquake in Ranau. 

Musa also ordered an emergency holiday for state and federal civil servants in the Ranau area in light of the earthquake that has caused damage to building structures among others. Mount Kinabalu is sacred to the local Kadazun Dusun tribal group, considered a resting place for departed spirits.A group of 10 apparently Western men and women angered locals last weekend when they snapped nude photos at the summit and uploaded them on the Internet. 

Some Malaysian social media users posted that the quake was a sign the spirits had been angered by the act. Authorities have not yet publicly identified the Caucasian-looking tourists 

or their suspected nationalities. Media reports have said they already had left the country.With the current two-week school holidays in Malaysia, many locals as well as foreign tourists complete the relatively easy climb to the summit. -- Agencies 


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