KUALA LUMPUR (AFP, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A strong 6.0-magnitude earthquake rocked the district of Sabah on Malaysia's Borneo island early on Friday, US geologists said, but there were no initial reports of damage and no tsunami warning was issued.
The US Geological Survey said the quake struck at a depth of 10km, with its epicentre located 19km from the town of Ranau and 54km from Kota Kinabalu in the district of Sabah.
Apart from the state capital, the tremors were felt in the northern Kudat and Kota Marudu districts, and as far away as Beaufort in the south.
The tremors shook buildings and rattled windows prompting people to run out from their houses, shops, and even at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport terminal.
Colin Forsythe, a resident of Kota Kinabalu, said the quake lasted around 15 seconds and felt “as if a truck had crashed into a brick wall".
Immediate damages caused by the earthquake could not be immediately ascertained.
Sabah Parks chairman Tengku Datuk Zainal Adlin said he is seeking help from the Royal Malaysian Air Force and private firms to deploy helicopters to evacuate some 100 stranded climbers and rangers at the summit plateau of Mount Kinabalu.
But none were immediately available to carry out rescue operations as rocks continue to roll down in the aftermath of the earthquake.
Commenting on allegations that the landmark Donkey’s Ears Peak (two pinnacles) near the Low’s Peak had broken, he said: "That is what I am hearing, at the moment, I can’t confirm.’’
Adlin said the maximum number of climbers allowed up the mountain was 192 per day.
State officials were quoted by the New Straits Times saying at least four climbers had suffered injuries including broken bones and head wounds as the quake loosened stones and boulders on the 4,095m mountain’s wide granite summit.
Fears are growing 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 might have been hit by rockfalls after the mountain shook for nearly a minute.
Malaysia does experience earthquakes but is outside the Ring of Fire, a belt of seismic activity running around the basin of the Pacific Ocean that includes neighbours Indonesia and the Philippines.
Mt. Kinabalu earthquake footage
Posted by TIGER.LIM™ on Thursday, 4 June 2015
— Adrian Ng (@AdrianNCF) June 5, 2015
A photo posted by Mohd Khalid (@mohdfauzikhalid) onJun 4, 2015 at 5:43pm PDT
Twitter user @ElqaShahdeiq claimed that the water in Ranau's Poring hot spring changed colour after the quake.
— Елка Счадиек (@ElqaShahdeiq) June 5, 2015