Malaysian teams hope to recover victims by evening

13 confirmed dead, 6 missing after tremor sends rocks crashing down on one of Southeast Asia's highest peaks

Malaysian teams hope to recover victims by evening

World Bulletin / News Desk 

Search and rescue teams in the eastern Malaysian state of Sabah are hoping to recover all the victims from a 6.0-magnitude earthquake from Mount Kinabalu by Sunday evening.

A total of 13 people have been confirmed dead while six others remain missing after Friday’s tremor at one of Southeast Asia's highest peaks.

Nordin Pauzi, fire and rescue department chief in Sabah, told reporters Sunday that four helicopter trips had been made to the mountain as of 8 a.m. (0100GMT), expressing hope that the mission could be completed in seven trips.

"Today our focus is on 100 percent mobilization of manpower and logistics using helicopters,” The Star Online quoted him as saying. "Our operation today is focused on finding the victims.”

Rescuers have said that efforts to find and recover victims have been hindered by boulders that slid down the mountain’s slope, covering the ground and blocking trails.

“Some of the bodies are buried deep under the rubble,” an unnamed search and rescue team member told the Star. “We can see parts of the crushed victims.”

A list of 19 killed or missing victims has been posted at a search and rescue operations center, and includes the names of seven Malaysians, nine Singaporeans, and one national from the Philippines, Japan and China each.

A group of students and teachers from a Singapore primary school had been visiting Kinabalu when it was shaken by the tremor, sending rocks crashing down the slope and causing boulders to snap climbing ropes.

Some of the students were reportedly strapped to harnesses on the Via Ferrata trek -- meaning Iron Road – when disaster struck.

Six children from the Tanjong Katong Primary School have been identified as among the killed or missing. Another 12-year-old student with severe injuries is receiving treatment at the Gleneagles Medical center in Kota Kinabalu.

At least 69 people were injured in the earthquake, with 37 admitted to six hospitals for fractures and wounds, the Malaysian Insider reported.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 07 Haziran 2015, 13:09
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