Extreme weather kills 21 marathon runners
Twenty one ultra-marathon runners have died after extreme weather conditions hit a 100-kilometer (62-mile) mountain race in Northwest China’s Gansu Province..
The high-altitude Huanghe Shilin Mountain Marathon began on Saturday morning in sunny conditions. But by 1 p.m. local time weather conditions had turned, with freezing rain, hail stones and gale winds lashing runners in Gansu County, according to the state-run Global Times.
The extremely cold weather caused discomfort and hypothermia among marathoners, resulting in some going missing, and the race was suspended, as local authorities immediately organized multiple rescue forces to search them.
More than 700 people have been dispatched for the rescue, and a rescue command center was set up, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Sunday.
Of all 172 race participants, 151 have been confirmed safe with eight sent to the hospital but in stable condition, while 21 were found dead, the People’s Daily reported on Sunday.
Rescue work was challenging due to complicated terrain, a further decrease in temperature at night and poor communications signals in the mountains.
CCTV quoted rescuers as saying that the low temperature was the biggest threat faced by participants as they wore thin clothes, and the temperature in the mountain is close to 0 C.
The local government has formed a team for an in-depth investigation on the cause of incident, Global Times citing a report from People’s Daily of China.