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One-in-a-million chance
Published on: Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: German university student Viktoria Poulsen's death, Monday, by falling off the top of Mount Kinabalu, was the first out of more than one million climbers since 1979, Sabah Parks Chairman, Tengku Datuk Dr Zainal Adlin, told Daily Express.

Viktoria reportedly ventured beyond the cordoned area at Low's Peak to take pictures of the sun rise and plunged 30 metres to her death from South East Asia's highest peak (4,095m) at dawn Monday.

"We will look at the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), tighten and enhance everything," Adlin said, on the next course of action. Viktoria was a student at Xiamen University, China, who took advantage of the Chinese New Year holidays to visit Sabah and climb Mt Kinabalu.

Meanwhile, the annual sacrificial ritual of slaughtering seven white chicken - a traditional rite to ward off dangers performed by a priest from Kg Kiau performs beside the rock pool near the base of Low's Peak - had been given the miss of late, noted hard trekking veteran Tham Yau Kong, who has climbed Mt Kinabalu more than 500 times.

Meanwhile, State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun advised climbers to abide by safety regulations on Kinabalu.

He said this was the first such incident where a climber fell off the mountain and dismissed the incident had anything to do with weaknesses in the existing climbing regulations.

Instead, it happened due to its non-compliance.

Initial investigations revealed that Poulsen had gone out from the gated trail on the climb to stand on a loose rock to snap a photo of the sunrise, when tragedy struck.

Masidi said if there had been no safety regulations, there would be many incidents of climbers falling by now.

"I am very sad this happened and on behalf of the government, we express our heartfelt condolence to the family," he said.

Kinabalu already has a carrying capacity which limits the number of climbers at any one time.

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