Mount Kinabalu Tragedy (Final Part): Ellie’s family fly home with her ashes

Sunday, August 26, 2001

KOTA KINABALU: The family of British schoolgirl Ellie James, 17, who died on Mount Kinabalu flew home with her ashes early yesterday.

Her parents, Bruce and Claire, and brothers Thomas, 19, and Henry, 15, left the state capital on a 6am flight on their way back to Britain.

They were seen carrying a small tajau, a locally made ceramic jar, containing the ashes of Ellie who was cremated on Friday.

The family from Cornwall, England, was scheduled to hold a memorial service for Ellie when they reach home.

Another ceremony will be held in Germany where her parents are based.

Ellie’s body was recovered on Aug 22 near the summit plateau of Mount Kinabalu. She and Henry lost their way in the thick fog while descending from the mountain’s highest point, Low’s Peak during the early morning hours on Aug 16.

Their parents raised the alarm when the two siblings failed to return to the Laban Rata resthouse near the summit by 10am and park rangers immediately conducted a search for them.

Henry was found six hours later near St John’s Peak where his sister had apparently left him so that she could seek help, but she was never seen alive again.

A post mortem at the Queen Elizabeth hospital here showed that Ellie died from prolonged exposure to the sub zero temperatures near the mountain summit.

Her family has set up a memorial fund to help among others the people of Kampung Kiau Nulu at the foothills of the mountain and to provide equipment for the mountain guides of Mount Kinabalu.

Mount Kinabalu Tragedy: A tribute to Ellie James (1985-2001)
Mount Kinabalu Tragedy (Part 2): Setback in search for girl
Mount Kinabalu Tragedy (Part 3): Signs that missing British girl still alive
Mount Kinabalu Tragedy (Part 4): “Spirits” had lured Ellie astray
Mount Kinabalu Tragedy (Part 5): British girl found dead on Mt Kinabalu
Mount Kinabalu Tragedy (Part 6): Ellie’s parents set up memorial fund to help villagers
Mount Kinabalu Tragedy (Part 7): Family of British girl who died on Kinabalu to cremate her

Mount Kinabalu Tragedy (Part 8): Sabah Parks rangers and guides have CM’s support
Mount Kinabalu Tragedy (Part 9): Blame it on no one but Ellie, says father

Resource: The Star Archive

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About drizad

A self employed General Practitioner who lives with his lovely family in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. He dedicates his spare time serving people with precious information on climbing the Majestic Mountain of the Borneo, Mt Kinabalu. Reachable at drizad(at)

1 thought on “Mount Kinabalu Tragedy (Final Part): Ellie’s family fly home with her ashes

  1. adriansabah

    I remember this. I remember sitting at my office, going through the newspapers for news of her. I still remember how sad I felt, imagining her alone on a freezing mountain top. I got the chance to climb the mountain the next year and asked the guides what happened.

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