‘Man who perished at Everest wanted to be an inspiration’

KOTA KINABALU: Kedah Civil Defence Force director Lt Kol Awang Askandar Ampuan Yaacub, who died while climbing Mount Everest on Friday, had always dreamt of becoming the first person from Sabah to reach the summit.

But his dream was cut short when he fell that fateful day. He was 55.

“He told us he wanted to be the first man from Sabah, Sarawak and even Kalimantan to reach the summit of Mount Everest. He wanted to be an inspiration for the young people out there to always chase after their dreams,” said Awang Askandar’s brother Ag Asim Ampuan Yaacub, 57.

“Now, his dream will forever remain a dream,” he said.

Their family, however, was proud of Awang Askandar despite his failed attempt to reach the summit, he said.

They said the father of six was an extreme sports lover, an outdoors enthusiast and had a great love for adventure.

Ag Asim said Awang Askandar loved scuba diving and parachuting, among others.

He said prior to serving in the Civil Defence Force, he was in the air force before changing careers to become a teacher and lecturer.

When they last met during a family gathering in December last year, he said Awang Askandar had voiced his intention to retire early and return to his hometown with his family.

Awang Askandar’s children are between the ages of two and 12.

Ag Asim also described Awang Askandar, who was the youngest of seven siblings, as humble and kind, with a sense of humour despite his usually serious side.

His siblings are now waiting for his body to be returned so that they can perform his last rites.

The remains are expected to reach Malaysia within a week, depending on factors such as the weather in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Awang Askandar was believed to have fallen from 7,900 metres above sea level while scaling the mountain.

Apparently, he had been too tired to continue the climb and was making his way down to base when tragedy struck.

This was his second attempt at reaching the summit of Mount Everest.

Meanwhile, another Malaysian Everest climber Muhammad Hawari Hashim, who is hearing impaired, went missing while descending from the world’s tallest peak.

This was confirmed by expedition leader Azim Afif Ishak, who said a search was ongoing.

Muhammad Hawari, 33, went missing while on his way down to Camp 3 after reaching the summit.Azim Afif said Hawari was last heard from when he was still at Camp 4.

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