Singapore and Malaysia’s Sabah state are observing a day of remembrance for those killed in an earthquake on Mount Kinabalu.Sixteen people are confirmed dead after Friday’s 6.0 magnitude quake, which hit the mountain in Sabah on Friday.
Among the dead were six Singaporean children on a school trip, along with their teacher and guide.
In Singapore, flags are at half-mast and a minute’s silence was observed at Southeast Asian Games venues.
The city-state is hosting the regional games, which officially opened on Friday night.
Mount Kinabalu is one of South East Asia’s highest peaks and a popular trekking destination.
Nationals on the mountain at the time the quake struck early on Friday were from China, the United States, the Philippines, the UK, Thailand, Turkey, and Japan.
One Japanese and one Chinese tourist were reported killed.
The Singaporean dead have been named as six students and their teacher from the Tanjong Katong Primary School (TKPS) and a Singaporean adventure guide.
They were among 30 pupils and staff climbing the mountain in the state of Sabah on Borneo island as part of an educational trip. A teacher and a student are still missing.
“Our hearts go out to their families, and to the TKPS community,” Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a statement, praising the children for “striving to stretch their limits and take on new challenges”.
More than 130 people were rescued or escaped. Many had to make their own way down with the help of tour guides and park rangers.
The US Geological Survey said the quake happened at around 07:15 local time (23:15 GMT) on Friday, at a depth of 10km (32,800ft). The epicentre was 54km (33 miles) from Mount Kinabalu, which stands at 4,095m (13,435ft).
The tremor was so powerful it also snapped off one of Mount Kinabalu’s “Donkey’s Ear” rock formations.
It also damaged roads and buildings, including schools and a hospital on Sabah’s west coast, but there were no reports of casualties.
Climbing Mt Kinabalu
- Climbing up and down Mt Kinabalu takes on average two days and one night. There are two trails – the Summit trail and the more advanced Mesilau trail
- The Summit trail begins at Timpohon Gate (1,800m; 5,906 ft)
- It takes about 6-8 hours to reach Laban Rata (3,273m; 10,738 ft) where climbers rest for a few hours
- They usually depart for the summit at 02:00, reaching it 4-5 hours later before descending the mountain