KUNDASANG, RANAU: As of 12 noon, the death toll in the Mt Kinabalu earthquake has risen to 11 when nine more bodies were found today.
According to Minister of Environment, Culture and Tourism, Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun during a press conference, the bodies would be flown down by helicopters to the nearest hospital once the weather permitted.
At this juncture, eight people were still missing and efforts by the search and rescue operations are on-going.
He added that the park will be closed for the next three weeks to ascertain the damage of the facilities and routes to the summit of the mountain to ensure safety for climbers in future.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister who is also Huguan Siou of the Kadazandusun Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan said a ritual ceremony to appease the spirit of the mountain would be held soon as he said some foreigners have stripped themselves naked and smeared the sacred mountain by urinating on it.
“We consider this act as uncivilised. We will blacklist them and ensure that they will not come back to Sabah. We believe this disaster has been caused by this disrespectful act of these individuals.
He reiterated that although most of the Kadanzandusuns in the area are either Christians or Muslims, they are still holding steep belief in the old tradition which considered Mt Kinabalu as a sacred ground.
Official reports showed that 173 have been safely ascended from the mountain. They are 114 Malaysians, 29 Singaporeans, five Americans, four Dutch, four Thais, four Phillipinos, three British, two New Zealanders, two Danish, two French and one each from Kazakhstan, South Korea, Australia, India, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, Canada.