Rescuers continue to scour cave tunnels, rivers for missing tourist guide

SAR team members searching the caves and rivers.

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, July 14: The search and rescue operation (SAR) to locate tourist guide Roviezal Robin in Mulu continues with his brother joining in the efforts.

Roviezal, 20, and a 66-year-old Dutch tourist Peter Hans Hoverkamp went missing after flash floods struck the Deer Cave in northern Sarawak’s Gunung Mulu National Park on Friday evening.

They were swept away by strong currents in the cave.

Hoverkamp’s body was found inside Deer Cave, floating in the river the day after.

Eight other tourists in the same group managed to flee to higher ground and escaped from being washed away by the river.

Marudi fire station chief Maureen Sim, who is also the commander in charge of the SAR, said today’s operation involved about 70 people including firefighters, police, staff of Gunung Mulu National Park and local villagers.

“The SAR team began their mission at 8.30am and they were divided into five groups, using sweeping technique and water surface method along the river in the cave system where he was last seen until the end of the deep pool. The search within 600m radius from Deer Cave’s entrance was repeated four times.

“Rescuers also enter the smaller river inside the cave tunnels to as deep as 900 metres but they had to turn back when the pathway in the tunnel became smaller and dangerous,” Sim said.

SAR team members combing the caves.

The searchers also use longboats along Sungai Gua and Sungai Paku following the stream technique.

As at press time, rescuers have yet to locate Roviezal.

SAR operations have been temporarily suspended at 3.11pm, which they will continue tomorrow.

Gunung Mulu National Park, located in the remote jungles of Sarawak is famous for its caves, cliffs and gorges. It is a UNESCO world heritage site

The popular Deer Cave, is home to an estimated three million bats which form amazing patterns in the sky when they leave each dusk.

It is also one of the largest cave passages in the world and attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year. — DayakDaily