Hope left only for one Kinabalu climber as rest found dead

File picture shows rescue teams returning with the bodies, believed to be of a local guide and Singaporean female student recovered from Mount Kinabalu, Sabah after a 6.0 magnitude quake on June 5, 2015. — Picture by Julia Chan
File picture shows rescue teams returning with the bodies, believed to be of a local guide and Singaporean female student recovered from Mount Kinabalu, Sabah after a 6.0 magnitude quake on June 5, 2015. — Picture by Julia Chan

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KUNDASANG, June 7 — Search and rescue operations on Mount Kinabalu today found another five bodies, leaving only one climber unaccounted for, and bringing the death toll to 18.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said he was informed that rescue personnel were trying to retrieve about five bodies from the mountain.

“I was told that there were more bodies found, possibly five, and they are working very hard to fly the bodies down by helicopter soon,” he said.

He said that as a gesture of goodwill, the families of Malaysians killed in the incident will each be awarded with an additional RM5,000 on top of the standard RM5,000, while those injured will get RM2,000 each.

Those who were physically unharmed will receive a goodwill pay-out of RM1,000 for the “trauma”.

“This will be paid out as soon as we can verify the details of the people involved,” he said.

Later, Ranau district police chief deputy superintendent Farhan Lee Abdullah said that recovery teams today also retrieved several body parts and were trying to piece together the victims.

The body parts were most likely caused from the impact of being crushed by falling rocks at KM6.3 from Timpohon Gate.

“We are hoping to airlift them out as soon as possible if weather permits,” he said.

The bodies are being flown to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu for post mortem and identification.

Farhan declined to reveal the identities of the bodies already recovered, but it is largely presumed that all 17 identified as missing yesterday are dead.

The named victims are Singaporeans Rachel Ho Yann Shiuan, 12; Sonia Jhala, 12; Emilie Giovanna Ramu, 12; and Ameer Ryaan Mohd Adeed, 12; Navdeep Singh Jaryal a/l Rajkumar, 13; Mohammad Ghazi Mohamed, 35; Loo Jian Liang Terrence, 29; and Muhammad Daanish Amran, 22.

Others were six Malaysians including three mountain staff, and one Chinese, Filipino and Japanese national each.

The Malaysians were named as Lim Choon Seong, 45; Muhammad Loqman Abd Karim, 22; Mohd Khiruladzuan Abd, 39; and mountain staff Valerian Joannes, Ricky Masirin and Joseph Solugin.

The foreigners were identified as Luqi, 35, from China; Karyl Mitzi Higuit Matahom, 12, from Philippines; and Ozaki Masahiro, 29, from Japan.

On Friday night, two bodies, that of 30-year-old mountain guide Robbi Sapinggi and 12-year-old Singaporean student Peony Wee Ying Ping were brought down by search and rescue teams.

The climbers were struck by the aftermath of a 5.9 magnitude earthquake, the worst in Malaysia, on Friday morning at 7.15am.

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