Man climbing Malaysia’s Mt. Kinabalu dies from suspected acute mountain sickness
KOTA KINABALU – A 45-year-old man climbing Mount Kinabalu with his wife in east Malaysia died on Tuesday of suspected acute mountain sickness (AMS).
Mr Alexzander Kueh, a Malaysian from Sarawak, was pronounced dead at 4.30am at the Ranau Hospital, said Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Christina Liew.
She said in a statement that Mr Kueh and his wife, Madam Ng Wee Peo, 35, arrived at the base camp lodging in Panalaban, at around 3,200m above sea level. At an elevation of 4,000m, Mount Kinabalu in Sabah is the tallest mountain in Malaysia.
Madam Ng complained of a headache and breathing difficulties at 9pm and the couple called for help.
The Fire and Rescue Department’s Mountain Search and Rescue team arrived and gave her oxygen.
The minister said that rescuers carried Madam Ng down the mountain on a stretcher to the entrance of the climbing trail at the Timpohon Gate. She was then taken to the Ranau Hospital for treatment.
At 2am, about 2km away from the gate, Mr Kueh, who was accompanying his wife down the mountain, started experiencing breathing difficulties and muscle cramps. He was carried on a stretcher for the rest of the way, said Ms Liew.
“Based on the symptoms, AMS was believed to be the cause and, upon descent, both victims were sent to the district hospital for further treatment,” the minister added.
“The wife’s condition was reported to be stable after she recovered from AMS,” she said.
The minister offered her condolences to Mr Kueh’s family and said she has requested Sabah Parks, which oversees Mount Kinabalu, to assist the couple’s families.
She advised climbers to be physically prepared before venturing to scale Mount Kinabalu.
Mountain sickness, also known as altitude sickness, is caused by the body’s inability to take in enough oxygen due to changes in air pressure because of the altitude. Symptoms include headache, vomiting and fatigue.