KUCHING – Australian tourist Andrew James Gaskell has paid tribute to his rescuers, calling them the “real heroes”.
Gaskell posted a picture of himself with the team who rescued him after he went missing in the Mulu National Park with the caption – “These are the real heroes”.
He admitted that he did not have permission to be on that trail and should have registered for the Mount Mulu guide trip and have a guide to show him the way.
Gaskell, who was rescued on Tuesday after going missing for about two weeks, apologised in a Facebook post on Wednesday for the “inconvenience and trouble” he had caused.
On Facebook, Gaskell’s timeline was flooded with messages of relief about his rescue, with many expressing interest to read his entry on his exploits in his blog, andrewgaskell.weebly.com.
“I expect to read a fantastically written blog post about your adventure as compensation,” said his friend Emily Read.
“Great to have you back, mate. We knew if anyone could survive that ordeal it would be you and you didn’t let anyone down. I’m sure you will write about it some day and this is just a little bump in the road in your journey of life. Stay safe Tiger.”
More than 60 personnel were involved in the search operation, including staff from the Fire and Rescue Department, police, civil defence and the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) rangers.
SFC chief executive Wong Ting Chung said he had instructed the staff at national parks to be more alert and ensure that visitors follow park rules.
“Obviously there is a weakness in the system whereby people can slip through and get lost like this guy. So maybe we have to close the gap,” he said yesterday.
SFC deputy general manager of protected areas and biodiversity conservation Oswald Braken Tisen said visitors to national parks must register with the park management and were required to have a guide in some places.
“Mulu is one of the places where we insist that visitors get a guide because it is a high-risk area, particularly for caving and jungle trekking. (Gaskell) stayed in a lodge outside the park. He did come in and register, however, he decided to try his luck and walk by himself.
“To some people the trail is not very obvious and this is how he got lost,” Oswald said.
He added that lodging providers would be told to remind their visitors to comply with park rules and regulations. – The Star Online