Rescuers and climbers seen at Mount Kinabalu earlier this morning after a 5.2 magnitude earthquake hit the area. Pix by Lano Lan

RANAU: A family of three was disappointed that they were not able to scale the 4,095m Mount Kinabalu peak because of the earthquake, but grateful they are safe.

Ahmad Ilmi Jasman, 45, from Johor said his wife Halimah Omar,45 and son Azib Hariz,15 had a smooth-sailing climb to Panalaban yesterday and was looking forward to the final 2km ascent from Panalaban lodgings at the 3,400m mark.

Halimah had previously reached the peak twice, while Ahmad and Azib were first-timers.

"Twenty other climbers reached Panalaban at 3.30pm yesterday and rested at the lodgings,” he said and were scheduled to make the ascent to the peak at about 3am .

“After Maghrib prayer, I took pictures of the rock landscape at the mountain and shocked to see rubbles from the quake three years ago,” he said when met at the Timpohon gate, the starting point for the summit trail at 1,800m, this morning.

Ahmad said when the 5.2 magnitude earthquake struck, at 9.06pm, he felt the bunk-bed shook and before long, rangers called out for everyone to evacuate their rooms and head to the nearby helipad.

On the way down to Timpohon Gate from about 10pm at the helipad, Ahmad said he felt like there were five tremors. “It was scary and I was worried something bad would happen.”

“I am grateful my wife and son are safe although we could not reach the peak,” he said and expressed his gratitude for the rescue team made up of the Sabah Park rangers, mountain guides and Mountain Search and Rescue (MOSAR) team members who evacuated everyone and led them to safety.

Climbers gather at the foot of Mount Kinabalu earlier this morning. Pix by Lano Lan

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