SEPANG: The decision to shorten the time spent on the summit of Mount Rinjani in Indonesia and descent a day earlier saved the lives of the climbing expedition members from Malaysia.
A spokesman of the expedition, Haziq Wafi Mohd Azman said based on the group's initial plan, they were to have climbed down from Mount Rinjani on Sunday, the day Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara was hit by an earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale.
"But we decided to descent from the summit on Saturday and we spent the night at a homestay at the foot of the mountain before departing for the airport at 8am the following day.
"I don't know what would have happened if we were still on the way down from the mountain's summit when the earthquake took place," he told reporters after arriving at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) here today.
Haziq Wafi said the expedition comprised 18 participants with three having returned to Malaysia yesterday and 14 others today while one was killed in the Sunday's earthquake.
In the 6.4-magnitude earthquake at 5.47am on Sunday, 14 people were reported killed in Lombok, including one of the expedition members, Siti Nur Ismawida Ismail, 30.
Haziq Wafi said four expedition members were injured in the earthquake while Siti Nur Ismawida was hit by the wall of the homestay building after she was trapped during the incident.
He said the leader of the Mount Rinjani expedition. May Lie Laili Maidin, 24 who sustained leg injuries were brought by ambulance from klia2 to the Selayang Hospital for treatment upon arrival.
"Someday I will definitely return to Mount Rinjani and thank all those who have helped us, especially the villagers at Sajang, Semabalun in east Lombok," he said.