Not many people know about tragedies that happened on Mount Kinabalu. Death happens on Borneo’s majestic mountain, the latest was in August 2001. As this month would be exactly 6 years since the event, I would like to dedicate a serial news excerpt from our local newspaper, The Star which reported the incident. Ellie James, a 16 years old girl from Cornwall, England, was found dead by the search and rescue team, when she was lost during the climbing.
This will the the first of 10 news from The Star archive, which will be written in chronological order. I will post one news each day, and this week will be a tribute from Kinabalu Blog to Ellie James.
Part 1: Monday, August 20, 2001
Rescuers racing against time to locate British schoolgirl (Sabah)
KOTA KINABALU: Rescuers are racing against time to locate 16-year-old Ellie James, who went missing near the summit of Mount Kinabalu since Thursday, as they remain bogged down by bad weather.
They are counting on the ingenuity of the British schoolgirl for her survival while heavy rain and winds of more than 100kph, caused by the tail of Typhoon Pabuk in the Philippines, continue to lash the 4,095m-high mountain.
Rescue teams covering nearly two square kilometres of the summit’s plateau have yet to find any new leads to the whereabouts of Ellie, who is from Cornwall, England.
“It’s been very frustrating. The weather is not with us … our teams are having difficulty with the poor visibility and strong winds,” said state Assistant Tourism, Environment, Science and Technology Minister Datuk Karim Bujang.
He said that in the last 36 hours, rescue teams comprising park rangers, guides and villagers had made little progress in their search for Ellie while seven rescuers from the fire department had also joined them near the summit yesterday.
Helicopters from the RMAF and Sabah Air are also on standby to carry out aerial searches but so far, they have not been able to make any trips due to the weather conditions, Karim said.