Singapore declares day of national remembrance after 6 students and teacher die on Mount Kinabalu

Singapore declares day of national remembrance after 6 students and teacher die on Mount Kinabalu
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong thanked Malaysian authorities, the search and rescue teams and all others “who are working tirelessly in the rescue and recovery efforts.”

Agence France-Presse

An image taken on 5 June 2015 shows victims from Singapore being examined outside the ambulance during a rescue mission for climbers who stranded on Mount Kinabalu following a 6.0-magnitude earthquake in the East Malaysian state of Sabah. Picture by Malaysia Of Information Ministry Of Sabah
Singaporean students being examined after a rescue mission for climbers who were stranded on Mount Kinabalu following a 6.0-magnitude earthquake in Sabah. Search and rescue (SAR) teams found 5 more bodies at Mount Kinabalu following Friday’s earthquake that hit Ranau. – Pic courtesy Malaysia Information Ministry Of Sabah, June 7, 2015.


Bouquets of flowers and messages in memory of the victims from an earthquake on Malaysia’s Mount Kinabalu. Photo: AFP

Singapore has declared Monday a day of national remembrance after six primary school students and one teacher from the city state were among 16 people killed during an earthquake that rocked Malaysia’s Mount Kinabalu.

State flags on all government buildings will be flown at half-mast and one minute of silence will be observed in what has been called “Singapore’s tragedy in Sabah”.

Malaysian officials said the death toll from the earthquake that struck on Friday morning had risen to 16, from an earlier 13, with 2 still missing.

The Singaporean students were part of a school excursion to the popular climbing destination, which was jolted by a 6.0-magnitude quake just as the 4,095-metre-high mountain was crowded with hikers.

The tremor triggered thunderous landslides that obliterated sections of trail on the peak, located in the state of Sabah on Borneo island.

Singapore’s government also has said a teacher and a Singaporean adventure guide perished, while another student and a teacher remained missing.

Malaysian officials have said the students were aged 12 and 13.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong thanked Malaysian authorities, the search and rescue teams and all others “who are working tirelessly in the rescue and recovery efforts.”

“As we grieve over the loss of these young lives, we also take heart at their striving to stretch their limits and take on new challenges,” he said, adding, “We are thankful that others survived the earthquake and have come home safely.”

Singapore Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam in a Facebook posting, called the episode “Singapore’s tragedy in Sabah”.

“Looking at the photos of these children — such young lives, full of promise, snuffed out,” Shanmugam said.

Malaysian police say the dead or missing also include 6 Malaysians, and one each believed to be from China, Japan and the Philippines.

But they were yet to provide a detailed breakdown, saying the poor state of some remains made identification difficult.

Mohammad Farhan Lee Abdullah, police chief of the town of Ranau near the mountain, said body parts had been found on sections of the mountain, suggesting the awesome power of the landslides.

“They are in parts probably because of rocks and boulders falling on them but we need to do forensics first,” Mohammad Farhan said.

Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper said some of the Singaporean students were taking a route to the summit known as the Via ferrata, Italian for “iron road”, that traverses a steeply sloping rock face.

“Initial investigations show that the worst-hit area was at Via ferrata. There were many boulders that came down there,” Masidi Manjun, tourism minister for Sabah state, said.

Friday’s quake was one of Malaysia’s strongest in decades but there have not been any reports of major damage, nor any casualties outside of those at Mount Kinabalu.

Climbing has been suspended for at least 3 weeks so authorities can make repairs and assess safety risks.

Around 20,000 people complete the relatively easy climb each year.

Mount Kinabalu is sacred to the local Kadazan Dusun tribe.

Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan blamed the tragedy on a group of 10 foreigners who “showed disrespect to the sacred mountain” by posing naked at the peak last week. He said a special ritual would be conducted later to “appease the mountain spirit.”

The foreigners, who included two Canadians, two Dutch and a German national, broke away from their entourage and stripped naked before taking photos at the mountain peak on May 30, officials have said.

Five of the tourists are believed to still be in Malaysia and will be barred from leaving on the offence of gross indecency, according to police.

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 June, 2015, 7:37pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 June, 2015, 7:38pm

#SingaporesTragedyInSabah   #ViaFerrata

Robert’s View

Tourists should respect sacred places of locals. “When you are in Rome, do what the Romans do.”

I can understand why locals were upset. But for Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan to blame the Mount Kinabalu tragedy on a group of foreigners who posed naked is as ridiculous as blaming partying foreigners for the deaths of 230,000 people in the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.

“Tragedies are not the result of immorality of its people.”
~ Robert Chaen


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Robert Chaen

Global CEO-Founder of ChangeU and Movsha Movers & Shakers, Hero-CEO Whisperer, Writer, The #1 Alpha Change Expert, Father of Asian FireWalking Robert Chaen is an International Keynote Speaker, writer, researcher, and corp games designer. He is famously known to be the “Hero-CEO Whisperer”, 1-on1 coaching with many CEOs and Celebrities for corporate strategies, staff & office political issues, personal branding, and even public figure OSHA safety drilling called Drager Defense. He has transformed CEOs and managers in Coca-Cola China, TVB Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airport Services, VADS, TM, Public Bank, Auditor General's Office Maldives, etc. He is the prolific creator and online Author of innovative management tools such as DragonCEO, Diamond Leader, Papillon Personal Effectiveness, OSHA Drager Defense, KPI Bank, etc. He is also the Founder of Movsha, an international networking with monthly mingles with MOVers & SHAkers, Angels, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Celebrities, HR-PR-CSR, HODs, and the Most Influential IDEA people. ​Chaen is widely considered as one of the top International Platform Keynote Speakers for Resorts World Genting Senior Management Conference (Manila), 7-Eleven HK, Samsung, Coca-Cola China Mini-MBA @Tsing Hua University, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Jockey Club, The Story Conference where he interviewed Datuk Kamarudin (Chairman of AirAsia) and Siti Nurhaliza. He has been widely featured in TVB, AWSJ, CNBC, SCMP, The Star, and Sin Chew. As “The Father of Asian FireWalking”, he coached TVB celebrities (Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin) to walk on 650°C fire; and raised HK$68M in the world’s 1st and only live TV Charity FireWalk (TVB Tung Wah Charity Show), before Tony Robbins even came to Asia. If Robert can get you to walk on 650⁰C fire, he can inspire you to be THE BEST. He champions CN-HK-EU-US Tycoons to be philanthropic, and to be angel investors to support the next generation of Jack Mas, Steve Jobs, Richard Bransons, Steven Spielbergs, or Barrack Obamas. With some slick motivational speakers with fake doctorates out there, graduates often describe Robert to be "the most credible, empowering, truthful Coach" who believe in his graduates to believe in themselves. ​However, clients have described Robert as "The #1 Cool Badass Alpha Change Expert". He has the coolest first class stature, rapport and trust from clients. He will not hesitate to tell the badass truth ever so gently because clients are paying him big bucks to reveal the truth, find solutions, persuade the hostile HODs, and align cross-teams within the organization. Originally based in Hong Kong for 20+ years, he had worked with top Branding/Ad agencies at J Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett, and was a certified FranklinCovey (7 Habits) in USA, and NLP MasterCoach (USA). His warmth is known to soften the most hardened, resistant sceptics. He will inspire your team to Go for Top 1, or to be a Dragon CEO. With boundless energies, Robert owns 15+ successful business Joint-Ventures, and created unique products under his global VC network called Chaen's Angels VC. He is deeply passionate about ChangeUTH Youth CSR, Science-Based Medicine (vs. quackery), short films and Reality TV. Touched by a personal tragedy through the loss of his HK-born Portuguese wife, co-coach and business partner, Brenda José of 18 years, Robert explores the many ways in which the spirit world is communicating with the living with real scientific studies and evidence. He gives inspiring conferences on The Secret Afterlife.

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