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Monday, August 20, 2001

Rescuers racing against time to locate British schoolgirl (Sabah)

KOTA KINABALU: Rescuers are racing against time to locate 16-year-old Ellie James, who went missing near the summit of Mount Kinabalu since Thursday, as they remain bogged down by bad weather.

They are counting on the ingenuity of the British schoolgirl for her survival while heavy rain and winds of more than 100kph, caused by the tail of Typhoon Pabuk in the Philippines, continue to lash the 4,095m-high mountain.

Rescue teams covering nearly two square kilometres of the summit's plateau have yet to find any new leads to the whereabouts of Ellie, who is from Cornwall, England.

"It's been very frustrating. The weather is not with us ... our teams are having difficulty with the poor visibility and strong winds," said state Assistant Tourism, Environment, Science and Technology Minister Datuk Karim Bujang.

He said that in the last 36 hours, rescue teams comprising park rangers, guides and villagers had made little progress in their search for Ellie while seven rescuers from the fire department had also joined them near the summit yesterday.

Helicopters from the RMAF and Sabah Air are also on standby to carry out aerial searches but so far, they have not been able to make any trips due to the weather conditions, Karim said.

Source: The Star

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