26 Malaysians Rescued From Earth Quake China Finally Home
Rescue op: A Chinese rescuer carries a 90-year-old Malaysian tourist towards a waiting helicopter in Maoxian County. She had been stranded in Sichuan since Monday. — AP
CHENGDU: The 26 Malaysians who were stranded following the earthquake in China are expected to reach home early tomorrow morning.
They are expected to arrive at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 12.20am on flight MU539 scheduled to depart from Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 7.45pm today.
The group was stranded in the earthquake-hit area of Maoxian in the Sichuan province for five days. They had been on a week-long tour of the province when the quake hit.
The group flew from Chengdu to Shanghai yesterday afternoon.
The travel agency that arranged the tour were still sorting out flight arrangements so all of them could return on the same flight.
Ipoh Golden Dragon Tours Sdn Bhd managing director Choy Wong Heng said the company and its Chinese counterparts had done their best to ensure the group’s safe return.
“We are grateful to everyone who has helped us in China,” he added.
The group, comprising 25 tourists and their tour guide, was airlifted out of Maoxian, about 40km from the epicentre of the earthquake on Friday.
When the earthquake struck at 2.28pm, the group was having lunch at a restaurant in Maoxian. They were evacuated and escaped unhurt.
They had been bound for Dujiangyan, one of the worse-hit areas in the most devastating quake to strike China in three decades.
KUALA LUMPUR: Tears and hugs filled the arrival hall of the KL International Airport after the 26 Malaysian tourists who were stranded following the earthquake in China landed early Sunday morning.
They arrived home safely at 1am to cheers of concerned families and awaiting pressmen.
Also present to greet them were Perak state executive councillor for Higher Education, Science, Technology and Communication Su Keong Siong and Wisma Putra officials.
One tourist, Ang Kooi Sim, 41, could not hold back tears when she saw her cousin Koo Kooi Swee, 72, who had waited at the airport with his two daughters since 11pm.
“I’m so glad to finally return home. It has been a harrowing experience and there is nothing that I want to do than spend time with my family,” she said.
Grandmother Elizabeth Louie Wai Lan, 90, hugged her grandson and great-grandson who had travelled from Ipoh to get her home.
“I am glad to be back. What else do you want me to say?” she asked reporters.
Louie’s great-grandson Justin Goh, 14, said he would “make every effort” to spend time with his great-grandmother from now on.