The six-day search for an Australian engineer, reported missing in Sarawak’s famed Gunung Mulu National Park, is over after a search and rescue party found him alive and unhurt some 2km from the park headquarters at around 1pm yesterday.
One of the five SAR teams that had been deployed in the search found 25-year-old Andrew James Gaskell by a stream in an area between the park headquarters and the cave known as “Lobang Nasib Bagus”.
The Fire and Rescue Department in a WhatsApp group posting said Gaskell was winched out of the jungle by the department’s Russian-made Mi8 helicopter where he was first flown to the park headquarters for a preliminary medical check-up before being flown to the coastal town of Miri, about 100km away, for further medical examination at the Miri general hospital.
Gaskell, who reportedly arrived at the park on October 18, was seen flashing a broad smile and the “V” for victory sign as he lay strapped onto a stretcher on the floor of the helicopter in the department’s photo releases.
Daily rain had made search for Gaskell treacherous and the Fire Department said their search teams that include personnel from its multi-skills team (MUST), Special Tactical Operation and Rescue (STORM) and beefed up by general operations force (GOF) policemen and park rangers, found the going tough as jungle and mountain tracks had become muddy and slippery, and the many tributaries of the Melinau River swollen making crossings dangerous.
Gaskell had reportedly planned to trek up Mount Mulu, which at 2,376 metres (7,795ft) is the second highest mountain in the state after Mount Murud.
He was trekking without a guide.
He was only reported missing last Wednesday and a search, code named “Operasi SAR Mulu – Gaskell” mounted the next day.
The Mulu national park, about 573 km from Kuching, is a Unesco World Heritage Site famous for its limestone caves.
The world’ largest known natural chamber, since named the Sarawak Chamber, is found in Lobang Nasib Bagus.
It is 700m (2,300ft) long, 396m (1,299ft) wide and at least 70m (230ft) high and reportedly could accommodate 40 Boeing 747s wing tip to wing tip.
Other notable finds in the park is one of the largest single cave passages in the world, now named the Deer Cave, the Benarat Cavern, Cave of the Winds, and the Clearwater Cave.
With a volume of 30,347,540 cu.m, Clearwater Cave is one of the largest caves in the world by volume.
Source : Laja Lang@The Heat Malaysia Online