Selfless acts by mountain guides & S'pore teacher make them real heroes in Sabah earthquake aftermath

Quick thinking and survival wits saved the lives of others on Mount Kinabalu.

Belmont Lay| June 07, 01:23 PM

1. Mountain guide Robbi Sapinggi

Kinabalu Updates: We are deeply saddened to inform that we have lost one of our mountain guides Robbi Sapinggi...

Posted by Amazing Borneo on Friday, June 5, 2015


Robbi Sapinggi, a 30-year-old mountain guide from Kampung Kiau, succumbed to head injuries on Mount Kinabalu in the aftermath of the magnitude 6.0 June 5 earthquake in Sabah.

Despite being critically injured by falling rocks, he placed the safety of the climber he was accompanying before his own.

Even as he was bleeding profusely, he advised his climber to descend Mount Kinabalu as fast as possible, while indicating that he wanted to help others who might be on their way down the steep slope.

Accounts from witnesses said the veteran guide instructed his climber to descend first, prioritising the other person's safety before his own.

Sapinggi then waited for a rescue team to come to his aid as he did not attempt a descent on his own. But after a five-hour wait, he decided to slide down the rocky slope.

When the rescue team found him, he was barely alive.

He died moments later.

Robbi leaves behind his wife and a 6-month old baby boy.

An online fund-raising campaign has been started for anyone to pledge money to his family.


2. Moutain guide Ridwan

you.. Mt. Guide Ridwan..

Posted by Sabah Parks on Friday, June 5, 2015


A Singaporean parent posted on Facebook identifying the boy being carried on the back of this rescuer as her son from Tanjong Katong Primary School.


3. Rescuers who used what appeared to be makeshift stretchers to carry the injured.

by Sabah Parks on Friday, June 5, 2015


Up to 90 local guides were initially deployed for search-and-rescue operations along the mountain’s route, where over 120 climbers were trapped, missing, lost or stranded along the trail to the summit after the earthquake occurred at 7.15am.

Guides, some who were porters carrying produce and general loads during regular days, were sent to assist in the operations as they knew the terrain best.

The mountain guides traipsed up the mountain, some more than once, and assisted the stranded and weakened climbers back to safety amidst the damaged trail and in the darkness.


4. Mountain guide Jomius

mountain-guide-Jomius Source: Vee Jin Dumlao via ABC News

From Australian newspaper,

Ms Dumlao said she was "so grateful" to mountain guide Jomius, who helped the trekkers to safety.

"The journey we took required the engineering of the guides who made abseiling equipment from the bare resources at hand," she said.

"The mountain guides were the heroes. They risked life and limb and made some difficult decisions that ultimately saved our lives, and had neither help nor recognition from the authorities.

"Many had homes affected in the quake. They lost friends and family yesterday. Yet they remained with us guiding us to safety till the very end."

She said she appreciated that the guides could have saved themselves much faster without the slow-moving climbers.

"Yet they stayed and did what they could to meet our needs," she said.

"I have great regard for the people around Mount Kinabalu who are defined by their culture spirituality and most of all their care for people."


5. Female Singaporean school teacher from Tanjong Katong Primary School

Click on picture to go to article:


Amal Ashley Lim, 12, is a student and one of the 29 pupils and eight teachers from Tanjong Katong Primary School who were on an overseas learning journey at Mount Kinabalu in Sabah.

She was among the first in her group to complete the trek up Mount Kinabalu on Friday at 7.15am. But the earthquake struck soon after, sending rocks falling down.

A quick-thinking female teacher pushed Ashley and her schoolmate under a shallow overhang as rocks rained down on her group.

The teacher then went to look for others but did not return.

After 15 minutes later, Ashley then shouted for help and their guide, James Michael, heard her cries and led the duo to safety.

It was reported in The New Paper on June 7, 2015 that the teacher was injured and still in Sabah.


Top photo via Amazing Borneo Facebook

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