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MOUNTAIN GUIDES, THE UNSUNG HEROES OF MOUNT KINABALU TRAGEDY

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The aftermath of the 6.0 magnitude earthquake at the Mount Kinabalu in the state of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo  is the death of 17 mountain climbers and 2 mountain guides or locally known as 'Malim Gunung'.
The officials said they did not expect any more bodies to be found as all the missing climbers have been accounted for.
Nurul Hani Ideris, 29, was on the mountain peak with a group of climbers and tour guides when the quake struck, blocking off trails and stranding them. "All the paths vanished," she told CNN.
Initially, Nurul said climbers were "very disappointed" with the government. 
Calls to Malaysia's tourism ministry and rescue department were not immediately answered Saturday morning.
"No one came to save us," she said. If it hadn't been for the mountain guides, We would be freezing to death."
Shivering in near-freezing temperatures, the climbers waited all day for a helicopter rescue that never came. But then a team of 75 more guides from the park arrived to help them escape, she said.
However according  to Sabah Parks director Jamili Nais, Helicopters had difficulty reaching the climbers on the mountain peak due to bad weather. 
The helicopter spotted them and threw two boxes of supplies, but the boxes fell off a gorge. 
  • In spite of all odds, the mountain guides seemed to know every single part of the place," and managed to carve a route through the devastated landscape, cutting branches and tying ropes to create a new path, said Nurul.
They  managed to reach safety after a grueling 10-hour hike through debris that lasted into the middle of the night, sharing what little food and water they had and passing by what appeared to be dead bodies.
It was nearly 2 a .m. when they reached Kundasang, a town near the mountain's southern base.
Only as they neared the base did they see the fire brigade and later the army.
Lynn Siang, a tour agency spokeswoman, called the mountain guides "heroes."
"The main rescue work was done by the mountain guides.
"On the path that was blocked by fallen rocks, the mountain guides had to tie a rope. When climbers crossed the ropes, they had to step on the shoulders of the guides. The guides used their body 
as a cushion", she told CNN.
Siang added no one should be blamed in the disaster's wake.

Source: Agencies
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