Sabah quake: Stranded climbers make way down to Laban Rata

A photo taken by a mountain guide, showing other guides carrying an injured climber down. It was tweeted by Sabah's Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun. -- PHOTO: MASIDI MANJUN/TWITTER
A photo taken by a mountain guide, showing other guides carrying an injured climber down. It was tweeted by Sabah's Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun. -- PHOTO: MASIDI MANJUN/TWITTER

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The 137 climbers who reached Panar Laban have decided to continue their descent to the Sabah Park headquarters, said state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.

The climbers and their guides were trapped just below the peak of Mount Kinabalu after the 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck in Ranau at 7.17am on Friday.

"The 137 stranded climbers are now slowly & cautiously making their way down to Laban Rata (food available) with the assistance of 32 guides," Masidi tweeted at about 9.30pm.

"First batch of 85-member rescue team have reached Laban Rata. More to join in batches. Have to track cautiously due to damaged trail," he added.

They will stay the night at Laban Rata before going down to Pondok Timpohon.

Masidi said the lives of the people stranded on Mount Kinabalu were foremost on his mind at the moment.

When asked by reporters, including foreign media outlets like CNN, on the impact of the incident to the Sabah tourism industry, Masidi said: "The tourism industry (for now) is the last thing on my mind.

"The most important is to know that the victims are alive and we hope there won't be fatalities," he said.