A former Intrepid Travel tour guide died during an earthquake in Malaysia on Friday, while protecting a tourist from harm.
Robbi Sapinggi, 30, from Kiau Village, Ranau, was working for local firm Amazing Borneo Tours when the 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, around 7.15am local time.
The company announced Sapinggi’s death on its Facebook page, along with that of another of its tour guides, Joseph Selugin, 33.
The statement on the social network said: “Robbi was accompanying our climber when he got hit by falling rocks.
“Despite being injured, Robbi’s only thought was for the welfare of his guest, urging his guest to continue ahead to climb down the mountain to safety.
“He bravely chose to remain alone and wait for help rather than to put the guest’s life at further risk.
“Unfortunately, Robbi was unable to make it down the mountain in time to receive proper medical attention and he died due to loss of blood.
“We are proud to say that he heroically took care of his guests all the way to the end.”
James Thornton, managing director at Intrepid Travel, also confirmed Sapinggi's death. “While Intrepid did not have any groups on the mountain at the time, I’m sorry to confirm that Intrepid friend and former mountain guide, Robbi Sapinggi, was killed by falling rocks from the quake", he said.
“Robbi’s father has been Intrepid Travel’s main guide on Kinabalu for more than 25 years, and over that time the whole Sapinggi family have warmly welcomed thousands of travellers in to their home as part of a community stay. “Our sincere condolences are with the family for their loss.
“Intrepid is considering how we can support the local community, who rely on tourism, while the mountain trails are closed for safety assessments. We’ll provide more information as we have it.”
Amazing Borneo said that Selugin was found beneath a boulder, “in the heroic act of shielding two of his guests”, who did not survive either.
The latest reports estimate that 16 have died as a result of the earthquake.
Fundraising information is available on the Amazing Borneo Facebook page.
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