An Australian climber has savaged rescue efforts in the wake of a deadly earthquake that jolted Southeast
Asia’s highest peak.
Malaysian authorities say 13 people died when a 6.0 magnitude quake rocked the area around Mount Kinabalu on Friday.
Six others remain missing in the wake of the disaster, which caused landslips on the peak and sent huge boulders hurtling down its slopes.
Vee Jin Dumlao says she and other stranded climbers had to wait nine hours for help, despite fog and difficult conditions clearing after the quake.
“Fog was quoted as the reason for not rescuing the climbers, that was certainly true earlier in day. But the sky cleared beautifully and the air was still by 4pm,” Mrs Dumlao has told the ABC.
She said the rescue effort was a farce, and had it not been for guides travelling with her group, they may not have made it out.
“It was decided that even though the tremors were still continuing, they were not as strong and we just had to take the risk and make our way down the mountain with the guides’ help,” she said.
“The mountain guides were the heroes. They risked life and limb and made some difficult decisions that ultimately saved our lives, and had neither help nor recognition from the authorities.”
Sabah state’s tourism minister Masidi Manjun has said rescuers brought 137 hikers, including two Australians, to safety.
Malaysian media have reported that the victims include children from a Singapore primary school who were on an excursion to the mountain.