As earthquake strikes Ranau, over 100 climbers rush to safety

By Julia Chan
Climbers rush to safety after an earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale hit Ranau, Sabah at 9.06pm today. — Picture via Twitter

KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 — Access to Mount Kinabalu will be closed for a day following a 5.2 magnitude earthquake which struck Sabah’s Ranau area at 9pm tonight.

Sabah Parks director Jamili Nais said that the decision was made to allow some 130 climbers atop the mountain’s Panar Laban to descend tonight as well as for authorities to conduct thorough safety checks when day breaks.

“All 130 climbers, 42 mountain guides, six special search and rescue guides, four porters and 11 Sabah Parks staff are OK.

“We know everyone is safe and there has been no injuries or untoward incidents,” he said.

The climbers, hailing from a variety of nationalities, typically stay at Panar Laban overnight before making the trek to the summit at 2am but many are opting to leave now.

Although reports have surfaced of people feeling the tremors throughout Ranau, Kota Belud, Kota Kinabalu and the west coast of Sabah up to Kimanis, there has yet to be any reports of casualties or damage in the 9.06pm incident.

A Ranau resident Maibin Johanes said that he felt strong tremors lasting a few seconds and woke his family up to rush out of their house.

The Meteorology Department also recorded a mild aftershock of 2.8 magnitude at 9.27pm within the vicinity.

In 2015, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck Mount Kinabalu killing 18 climbers, mostly school students and their guides.