KAJANG: Eight students of the International Islamic University who were stranded on Gunung Nuang near here, were found by a search-and-rescue team at 2.50am yesterday, about 48 hours after they started out on their expedition.
They were huddled together in a small tent and were in a state of exhaustion.
One of them, Mohd Shukri Drahman, 21, was ill and has been admitted to Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in Cheras.
The others were: Mohd Lokman Hakim Johar, 21, Azizi Idris, 19, Aminur Anwar Abdul Wahab, 19, Syed Putra Syed Abu Bakar, 19, Nasrul Hadi Mohd Tauhid, 19, Kharrudin Yahya, 20, and Amar Osman, 21.
Two others, who went up the mountain a second time to deliver food and water to their university mates and also became stranded, were rescued hours earlier.
The 10 students were among 19 IIU matriculation students and undergraduates who climbed the 1,463m mountain at 9.50am on Saturday without approval from the university, Forestry Department or police.
Nine others reached down safely by 7pm on Sunday with the help of two trekkers who were not part of the IIU group.
When it was learnt that the stranded students were still up the peak, a search and rescue operation was mounted by the police, assisted by the departments of Civil Defence and Fire and Rescue as well as local orang asli villagers.
However, due to poor weather conditions, the rescue work was temporarily called off at about 8pm and resumed about three hours later.
Together with about 30 rescue workers, this reporter and photographer Abdul Rahman Senin – the only media people who joined the operations – left in a four-wheel-drive from Base Station I for a ride which took longer than the usual 45-minute drive to Base Station II, stopping at least four times along the way for rescuers to chop down trees and branches that obstructed the route.
From Base Station II, they proceeded to Camp Lolo on foot.
At about 1.30am, they spotted two tents and found, in one of the tents, two tired trekkers who told them about their eight campus friends who were still stranded.
The other tent was used to store the group’s baggage.
A policeman stayed back with the two while the rest continued their search for the missing climbers.
As they neared Dataran Pacat, a plateau not far from the mountain peak, the rescuers spotted another tent and found the eight “lost” trekkers.
The team gave medical aid to Mohd Shukri before proceeding back down to Camp Lolo.
They reached Base Station I at 8.45am.
When asked if the expedition was worth the ordeal, one of the students told The Star: “Had it not been for my ill university mate, we would not be in so much trouble.
“Except for Mohd Shukri, all of us were fit enough to make the journey down but we couldn’t leave him alone at the peak,” said the student, who chose not to be named.
At the Batu 18 police station, an IIU official told The Star that the university authorities viewed the students’ negligence to inform the relevant authorities on their expedition very seriously.
“An enquiry would be set up to investigate the students’ misconduct because even though it was a personal expedition, the students failed to inform us,” the official said.
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