Sabah quake: Boy's safety all that mattered, says shy hero guide

KUNDASANG (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A photo of a sprightly mountain guide carrying an injured boy on his back has been making its rounds on social media. He has even become the inspiration behind a painting by artist Razie Alfidan to be sold for charity.

Slightly over 1.5m tall, the poster boy of the search and rescue efforts on Mount Kinabalu is oblivious to his newfound fame.

Reluctant to speak to the media at first, camera-shy Mhd Rizuan Kauhinin, 25, told The Star he was not aware that the photo of him carrying a boy had gone viral on social media.

"I really don't know what to feel," he said when asked about his thoughts on social media users branding him a "hero" for rescuing the injured child.

"I'm not a famous person. What I did was out of sincerity, not to get fame. I wanted to genuinely help. All that mattered was to bring the boy to safety," said the humble guide.

The camera-shy Rizuan said he and another mountain guide found the boy writhing in pain near the Villosa Shelter at KM 4.9 of the trail.

"The boy couldn't move because he had injured his back. We gave him something to eat. I had water with me, so I also shared some with him," he related.

"We then lifted him from the ground and I carried him on my back for the descent."

According to Rizuan, the boy was in pain throughout the entire trip down.

"He was moaning in pain, he couldn't stand it. We had to stop a lot, but I tried my best to quickly bring him to the Layang-Layang Hut.

"There were many rescuers at the lower points of the mountain, especially the guides, so that's why I wanted to get him down as soon as possible," he said.

Rizuan added that after carrying the boy for about a kilometre, they came across three guides who were also descending the mountain.

"At the Layang-Layang Hut, we decided to transfer the boy onto a stretcher because he would have been in more pain if I continued carrying him on my back for the descent.

"He was really hurting," he explained.

The group parted ways with the child after carrying him to the medical checkpoint and handing him over to an ambulance.

Having worked five years as a mountain guide, Rizuan said it was his duty to lend a helping hand to those in trouble.

"As soon as they (customers) enter the park, we take them under our care," he added.

Rizuan was at the Kinabalu Park here on Monday for a meeting with the rest of his fellow mountain guides. They cheered him on in a show of camaraderie as he spoke to The Star.