Sunday, May 15, 2016

Showing gratitude with his prize money

Kota Kinabalu: Thai Architecture student Khunakorn Kocharint feels he is forever indebted to mountain guide Robbi Sapinggi who died saving him during the 6.0-magnitude earthquake that killed 17 others here, in June, last year.
He flew in to Sabah Friday night to pay his respects to his saviour and to also present the fallen mountain guide's family 50,000 baht (RM5,600), the total sum of prize money he won in a recent design competition in Bangkok.
"He felt indebted to Robbi for helping him get off the mountain safely, and in the process, had sacrificed his own life.
"He told us he felt indebted to Robbi and wanted to donate the money to Robbi's family," said Dinna Daisy, business development manager of tour company Amazing Borneo that had paired the duo for their trek up Mount Kinabalu last year.
The meeting between Kocharint and Robbi's father Sapinggi Ladsou at Amazing Borneo's office was kept low-key.
Kocharint, 21, a third-year architecture student at King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang in Bangkok came to Sabah last year on a solo trip and climbed the mountain with Robbi as his mountain guide.
Tragedy struck at about 7.15am June 5, 2015 when the earthquake rocked Southeast Asia's highest mountain and caused rockfall to tumble down its steep slopes.
Kocharint said he fell unconscious from being hit by rocks and when he came to, Robbi was by his side but injured, and told him to go down quickly ahead of him.
Robbi's body was later found by an emergency personnel at about 4pm the same day, near Laban Rata, roughly 20m from where it was believed he was hit by hurtling rocks during the earthquake and sustained head injuries.
His body was the first to be taken down by rescuers at about 8.25pm.
Robbi, a native of Kampung Kiau at the foothills of Mount Kinabalu, is survived by a son now aged 1 and his wife, Reena Joshi.
Climbers view him as a hero for his sacrifice.
The Ranau earthquake killed a total of 18 people, including 10 Singaporean schoolchildren and four mountain guides.
The mountain was closed off to climbers for about six months after the quake to facilitate repairs and safety measures.
It has since been reopened.
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