Malaysian news has reported that the search and rescue officials have concluded that the death toll from Friday’s earthquake at Mount Kinabalu to be a total of 19.
This come after the recovery of 17 bodies on top of the mountain on Saturday.
The officials involved in the search and rescue operation said they did not expect any more bodies to be found as all the missing climbers have been accounted for.
The first bodies – of mountain trainer Robbie Sapinggi, 31, and 12-year-old Singapore student Wee Ying Peony – were found and taken down to the base camp at Sabah Parks on Friday evening.
The officials said the bodies were being winched by helicopters and being flown to Kota Kinabalu.
They said three of the bodies were flown to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at about 4pm, and other bodies are expected to be taken in batches.
“The search is still on for six more,” he told reporters.
Among those killed were students of Tanjong Katong Primary School in Singapore.
A total of 29 students and eight teachers were on a leadership trekking trip to Mount Kinabalu.
Nineteen students and two teachers from this group arrived back in Singapore at around 3pm on Saturday.
It is confirmed that one girl had died from the accident and her parents had been informed. Additionally, a boy is receiving medical treatment in hospital.
It is reported that the nationalities and identities of those killed will be released after post mortem.
Education Minister Heng Swee Keat had earlier been reported to have said on Saturday that efforts are in place to locate the remaining students and teachers unaccounted for after an earthquake struck near Mount Kinabalu on Friday.
Mr Heng said that a team of Ministry of Education officials landed in Kota Kinabalu early Saturday afternoon and operations are in “full swing” to locate the children and teachers missing. Mr Heng, who was speaking at Changi Airport, where family members were being briefed on the situation, added that the team is in touch with Malaysian authorities.
It was earlier reported that almost 190 climbers had been trapped on the 13,435-feet mountain.
Mount Kinabalu, which is part of the Kinabalu Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, would be closed for at least three weeks to repair facilities there and the access for the climbers would be temporarily restricted, according to the Sabah Tourism minister.
Adapted from news sources.