At least two dead in Malaysian Borneo earthquake; 160 climbers trapped

By Amy R. Connolly and Danielle Haynes

BORNEO, Malaysia, June 5 (UPI) -- At least two people are dead and 137 climbers are trapped one of the highest mountains in Southeast Asia after a 6.0-magnitude earthquake rocked the island of Borneo in Malaysia on Friday.

Masidi Manjun, the tourism minister for the Malaysian state of Sabah, said there have been "fatalities" at Mount Kinabalu, a 13,500-foot peak in the Malaysian part of the island, but would not disclose further details. A doctor who was among the climbers said at least one person died.


"It is with much regret that I have to inform that there have been fatalities at Mt Kinabalu. Details will be announced tomorrow," Manjun wrote on Twitter.

He said the group of stranded climbers was slowly making its way down Kinabalu to the park headquarters. The quake, which struck about 7:15 a.m., was centered about five miles from the mountain summit. Manjun said the descent is very dangerous, with falling rocks and landslides, but experienced guides are helping.

[VIDEO]Stranded climbers on Mount Kinabalu. Unknown source / Netizen


Posted by My Kundasang on Friday, June 5, 2015

"The mountain guides, with their vast experience in climbing Mount Kinabalu have, through sheer determination, managed to reconnect the ropes at the damaged site, and this has enabled the climbers to slowly make their descent," he said.

A Malaysian doctor who was able to return to the base camp said he confirmed the death of one woman.

Dr. Rezlan Abdul Rahman of Pahang, who was descending the mountain, said two other women with her were injured.

"They were still at Laban Rata as we proceeded to come down,'' he told The Star.

Rezlan said he was told that the women were climbing with ropes when the quake hit. The ropes came loose.

"They were apparently swung out before hitting back to the mountain," he said.

Officials said several buildings were damaged in the town of Ranau. Meanwhile, a state state emergency holiday was called and all climbing activities at Mount Kinabalu were cancelled.


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