4 Singaporeans in search of waterfall got lost for 10 hours on mountain trek in Malaysia

SINGAPORE - They had wanted to see a waterfall, but ended up getting lost for 10 hours on a mountain in Malaysia.

The four Singaporeans had broken away from their group of trekkers during a hike at Gunung Angsi, a 824m-high mountain at Negri Sembilan.

Mr Lim Jing Yang, 27, had gone on the one-day trip with a group of 15 Singaporeans, including his friends, Mr Valen Tan Tao Kuan, 19, Mr Nigel Quek Wen Cong, 22, and Mr Sebastian Chua Han Hong, 25.

It was their first time scaling Gunung Angsi, just an hour's drive away from Kuala Lumpur.

The group started their trek at 8.15am on Sunday and reached the summit at 11am. Hoping to catch a glimpse of the scenic Ulu Bendul waterfall, the four decided to follow a trail, marked by white plastic tape, that led from the summit to the waterfall.

But the markers ended abruptly.

"We didn't backtrack. We tried to find other trails," said Mr Lim, a health-care professional. But they were not confident about which direction to take as they did not have a map.

"Mobile phone reception was also poor. We ended up walking in circles," Mr Lim told The Straits Times.

A two-hour torrential downpour left them soaked. Fortunately, they managed to contact a forest ranger via a mobile phone. He told them to follow a nearby river to get down the mountain.

At around 7pm, they arrived at an oil palm plantation and called the ranger again, who told them to wait there for help.

"We waited for an hour. Then, after consulting with (one another), we decided to make our own way out of the plantation," said Mr Lim.

It was past 9pm before they stumbled upon the hostel of an electronics company. A staff there alerted the fire department.

The four finally returned to Singapore at 3.30am on Monday, tired but unharmed, save for a few scratches.

Mr Lim said they remained calm throughout as they had enough supplies, such as food, water and portable battery chargers for their mobile phones, to last them until the next day.

As to whether they had found the waterfall they were searching for, Mr Lim said: "We saw a waterfall, but don't know if it's the one."

mellinjm@sph.com.sg