All of us were truly shocked. As the trail was unpassable, the guides asked us to sit in one group at the summit and wait for rescue. 2 hours passed by, but we were still there, waiting. The mountain kept on shaking and the boulders fell down every now and then, I was terrified. Everyone was already praying, regardless of faith, we prayed together and for everyone’s safety. Luckily one of our friends’ mobile phone had a fairly good signal and we were able to contact our families to tell them of our situation .She also uploaded pictures of us stranded at the top on Facebook so that our families were not too worried about us.
At 10.ooam, my body started to show signs of hunger and thirst. All of us were. My lips were badly chapped, my eyes were red (maybe because I was crying) and my throat was as dry as the desert. Starvation kicked in. Fortunately, some of our friends remembered to bring some biscuits and slices of bread, we divided the food among us and that’s all we had to ease our hunger (a slice of bread for 6 person, that’s how limited our food was). We were still positive that the rescuers will come very very soon.
At around 1.00pm, after 6 hours waiting, the thirst became unbearable. We owe our mountain guides our lives because they risked their lives for us going about 700 meters below to refill our water bottles! The boulders could start falling again anytime since the tremors never really settled. Thank God those guides know every nook and cranny, we could only pray for their safety. I had ¾ water left in my 500ml bottle (the water was actually Azizi’s , our other guide ,but he gave it to me seeing me so helpless on my way up. Thank u Azizi!), that’s all we had for the time being, at least enough for everyone to wet our drying throats.
A while after, the mountain was blanketed in fog that had us shivering. We were never before subjected to that kind of temperature; it was like being inside a freezer, at least for me. We tried playing silly word games, did some chicken dance steps and walked around to warm our bodies but it did not really help. The guides constantly reminded us to gather in one place and not moving around to avoid any untoward happenings should there be another strong quake like the first time where falling rocks might hit us.
Some time after, when we were told that there was no certainty of rescue because the helicopter could not land due to bad weather, I almost cried. The condition continued for several hours and then at 3.00pm, the sky cleared up that we thought we were certainly going to be rescued by then. However, despite the clearing fog, we were told that evacuation can only be done the next morning, and most probably we have to stay overnight in that freezing summit of Mount Kinabalu. Truth be told, we were very disappointed and sad with that decision.
...to be continued.
Footnote: Bila sia tingu tu bidio malim gunung, baru sia tau kami minum air lopak. Hahaha. Nga kabalan juga gia perut. Urang kampung gia...