Sabah quake: Father of Singaporean student calls mountain guide to thank him for saving son

Tanjong Katong Primary School pupil El Wafeeq El Jauzy (in wheelchair), who survived the earthquake. -- PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER 
Tanjong Katong Primary School pupil El Wafeeq El Jauzy (in wheelchair), who survived the earthquake. -- PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER 
Mountain guide Mohd Rizuan Kauhinin showing a photo of the injured boy El Wafeeq El Jauzy. -- PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER
Mountain guide Mohd Rizuan Kauhinin showing a photo of the injured boy El Wafeeq El Jauzy. -- PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The father of a Singaporean student who survived the earthquake at Mount Kinabalu has called mountain guide Mohd Rizuan Kauhinin to thank him for rescuing his son, expressing the hope that they would be able to meet soon.

"I received the call a few days ago from the boy's father," said Rizuan.

A photo of him carrying the injured boy on his back had become the iconic symbol of the mountain guides' heroism on social media following the June 5 earthquake.

During the call, Rizuan was told that the boy's name was Wafeeq and that he was undergoing treatment for his injuries.

The father also told Rizuan the family would like to meet him as soon as Wafeeq got better.

"I replied that I would like that very much," said Rizuan, adding that the call was brief. "The connection was quite bad."

Rizuan not only carried Wafeeq on his back down Mount Kinabalu, but also took care of the boy even after they reached search and rescue personnel at the base of the mountain. Rizuan was seen comforting Wafeeq while medical personnel transferred the boy into an ambulance.

On how he was coping a week after Kinabalu National Park's temporary closure, Rizuan said he was looking forward to getting some rest.

However, the worry of long-term unemployment still loomed over him and his fellow mountain guides.

"For now, we are still jobless but we are grateful for the help and donations we have received so far," said the 25-year-old Dusun native from Kampung Lembah Permai at the foothills of Mount Kinabalu.

Meanwhile, an endless supply of aid has been flowing into the donation centre at the Kinabalu National Park.

Organising committee member Reynilda Nell Tiam Sunusun said as of Thursday afternoon, 140 donors had provided the victims and guides with aid.

"We have been despatching the donated goods to the homes of the four mountain guides who died in the earthquake - throughout their funerals and seven-day mourning period.

"By this week's end, we will be handing over all the donations to Sabah Parks and the Kinabalu Mountain Guides Association," she said.