SETIU, Oct 10 -- A group of 39 hikers, all staff members of the Hulu Terengganu Dental Office faced anxious moments when they were trapped in the middle of Gunung Sarut here due to gushing waters from upstream near the Blue Pool at the Lata Payung Recreation Park here today.
The participants, comprising nine men and 30 women, who began hiking up at about 9 am and were stranded five hours later due to heavy rain, were brought down safely down to the foot of the mountain at 6.30 pm today.
A participant, Anisah Awang Hitam, 48 said the river water level rose suddenly before a huge surge came from upstream.
“After the water level kept rising, my friends and I who were at the bottom of the Blue Pool immediately descended to the banks of Lata Payung and crossed the river using the old suspension bridge.
“The bridge was closed to the public, but we had to use the route to cross to land and wait for the fire and rescue department to save my stranded friends,” she told reporters when met at the scene here today.
Another climber, Nurul Aniza Mohd Din, 32 said prior to the incident, the participants were divided into two groups and located in different areas.
“The sudden surge of the water was noticed by the group at the bottom of the Blue Pool while those of us who had just arrived at the top did not know the actual situation until we saw pictures uploaded in the WhatsApp group.
“When some climbers saw the pictures, they started to panic and began to cry, thinking of the possible consequences,” she added.
Meanwhile, Setiu fire and rescue department chief Zul Azman Jamaluddin said the department received a distress call at 3.38 pm and deployed 11 personnel to the scene.
Five personnel climbed the mountain to bring down the victims, while the stranded victims on the banks of the Lata Payung river were brought across the river using ropes, he said, adding that no victims were injured.