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Canadian Siblings Barred from Leaving Malaysia Accused of Causing Earthquake


Two Canadian siblings have been barred from leaving Malaysia after being blamed for an earthquake that struck Mount Kinabalu, in Malaysia Borneo, on Friday.

According to Malaysian police reports, Lindsey Petersen, 23, and Danielle Petersen, 22, are two of five tourists who have been identified as disrespecting the mountain, considered a sacred place in the indigenous culture of Sabah.

According to a Malaysian news outlet, rescuers recovered the bodies of 19 climbers from the 4,095-metre peak after it was struck, six days after the errant tourists’ visit, by a magnitude 5.9 quake that sent rocks and boulders raining down on trekking routes, trapping dozens of climbers. Nationalities of those killed have not yet been released.

Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan, of the eastern Sabah state, blamed the earthquake on the group that included the Canadians because they “showed disrespect to the sacred mountain” by stripping down to pose naked on the morning of May 30, at the 8 km mark of the two-day trek up Mount Kinabalu, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Ten tourists undressed and took photos, which was reported by their protesting guide, according to police. Only five have been identified by name so far.

According to police they are Canadian brother and sister Lindsey Petersen and Danielle Petersen, two Dutch citizens named Eleanor Hawrins and Dylan Thomas, and a German citizen named Stephan Pohlner.

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