KUCHING, Sept 23: It must have felt like déjà vu for the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) when a hiker was reported missing at Gunung Serapi earlier this evening, this time involving an Egyptian female tourist.
This comes after an exhausting one-week search for hiker Stanley Kho, 22, who was found safe this morning after going missing during a hike up Mount Singai.
However, the search ops for the woman in her 20s at Mount Serapi was called off at 10.47pm when it was confirmed that the tourist had returned from the climb safely but failed to report her return to the park authority, said deputy state Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) director (operations) Tiong Ling Hii when contacted earlier this evening.
The tourist came to the national park at 11.21am and registered before entering the park to hike up Gunung Serapi with a group of other hikers.
A staff of the park said she had intended to hike to two locations at Gunung Serapi — the Kubah Waterfall and the Selang Trail.
During an initial briefing, hikers were advised to return and report to the Service Counter no later than 4pm.
Later all the other hikers reported back on time, but the Egyptian woman was not seen even after 15 minutes past the deadline.
Two park staff members were mobilised to search for the missing woman at around 4.15pm to the locations mentioned by her earlier during registration, as the park was to be closed at 5pm. However, she was nowhere to be found.
A report was then made to Bomba at around 8.15pm.
A team from Petra Jaya Bomba was mobilised to the national park to conduct a search and rescue operation with 10 personnel led by Bomba officer Asmadi Nawi.
However, a member of the public later tipped off the authorities that the missing hiker had actually returned home without notifying the park. The hiker, upon learning that the authorities were searching for her, also contacted the park to notify them that she was safe and sound.
The search operation was called off after the authorities had verified that the hiker was indeed out of harm’s way and accounted for. — DayakDaily