The US Geological survey said the epicentre of the quake, which struck in the morning, was about 54 km (33 miles) from the state capital of Kota Kinabalu.

Foreign and domestic hikers flock to Sabah to climb the 4,095-metre (13,435 feet) Mount Kinabalu, where at least 145 people were trapped, media reported, citing officials. "Rescuers operations underway at Mt Kinabalu," Masidi Manjun, Sabah's Minister for Tourism, Culture and Environment, cited in a post on Twitter.

There were reports of climbers trapped and injured. It was not clear how seriously the tourists were injured and how they were stranded but Manjun said all climbing had been canceled as loose boulders were falling after the quake.

One climber, identified as Charlene Dmp, posted pictures of hikers on top of the mountain. "Currently we are waiting for the helicopter to save us," she stated. There were no reports major damage or injuries from the earthquake elsewhere in Sabah.

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