On one of Southeast Asia’s highest mountains, more than 130 climbers were stranded on Friday following an earthquake which shook up parts of Sabah on Borneo island.
No official confirmation has been released yet, but media reports some people were injured and one or two people may have been killed by the quake.
The U.S. Geological survey supposed that the epicenter of the 6 magnitude quake, that stuck in the morning, was around 54 km or 33 miles from the capital of Kotare Kina.
Foreign and domestic hikers alike gather at Sabah to scale the 4,095-meter or 13,435 feet, Mount Kina, where an estimated 137 people were trapped, the state department of fire and rescue told Reuters.
52 climbers, so far, made it safely down, Sabah Fire and Rescue Department, Mod Affined Ramming said.
Climbers from 16 different nations were at the peak, which includes 2 Australians, 2 French, 2 British, 4 Dutch, 5 Americans, 38 Singaporeans and 117 Malaysians, he said.
The list included tourists from China, Belgium, China, Denmark, Thailand, Philippines, Kazakhstan, India, New Zealand and South Korea.
“A small landslide cut off access through the usual route up the mountain. Because of this, some people are stuck there and cannot come down. They are waiting to be rescued,” said Mod Affined.
Officials said, that the Donkey’s Ears twin peak, the mountain’s landmark, was badly damaged by the quake. Although the media reported 1 or 2 deaths in the quake, rumors of 5 to 10 more has not yet been confirmed, an official said.
Rescue teams and villagers searched for alternate access routes, but a helicopter search was called off due to bad weather. Water, food, and warm clothing were prepared and ready to be deployed.
Sabah’s minister for tourism, Masidi Manjun said in a Twitter post that rescue operations are “under way at Mt Kina.”
The minister said all climbing activities had been cancelled as loose boulders are still falling.