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15/06/2024 07:16 PM

SEPANG, June 15 (Bernama) -- Zainudin Lot, 49, one of the participants who was stranded during a climbing expedition to Mount Denali in Alaska, United States said he had to crawl to find help in -25 degrees Celsius temperatures after being trapped during the descent from the mountain summit on May 28.

He admitted that he had almost given up hope of being rescued as he and his friend, the late Zulkifli Yusuf, 37, were in a home-made shelter (snow cave known as a Football Field) for four days due to bad weather.

“The deceased (Zulkifli) died on the second day…and the next day, I spotted a helicopter hovering over the area but it had difficulty trying to land. I had to muster all my strength to wave my hands to show that I was still alive,” he told reporters on arrival at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) here today.

"’When the helicopter came back for the third time, I managed to crawl out of the shelter…and when I turned around, I saw the helicopter coming to rescue me.”

He said the whole experience has affected him mentally more than physically, although he suffered injuries to his feet and fingers.

"It has been a traumatic experience, with long-lasting effects. I am very grateful to ALLAH SWT for extending my life and hope that I continue to recover and be healthy," he said.

When asked if he will discontinue his mountain climbing activities, Zainudin said he is not discouraged by what has happened because as climbers, we know the risks involved and it is our interest.

"I am grateful to be able to return to see my family. Thank you to everyone who prayed for me," he said.

Meanwhile, Zainudin’s eldest sister Rohana, 55, said she is thankful for her brother’s safe return, likening it to “coming back to life’’.

"He is a person who likes extreme activities and we are thankful that he is safe, He always asks for our mother’s blessings before going anywhere,” she also said.

“This can be considered a Hari Raya Aidiladha gift, and we are thankful he has returned to celebrate it with us.

Meanwhile, his mother Hasidah Hamid, 73, said she prayed for her son’s safe return after finding out about the incident.

“I was sad to learn that he was trapped. But I always prayed for his safe return, and Alhamdulillah, he is safe,” she said.

On June 1, the Alpine Club Malaysia (ACM) said three Malaysian climbers were stranded at an altitude of 19,700 feet on the highest mountain in the North American continent, since May 28 during a climb.

ACM said that Zulkifli died at 6 am on May 29 (local time) while taking shelter in the snow cave.




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