At least 21 dead after “an abrupt and extreme weather” attacked runners taking part in a 100-kilometer mountain race in Gansu, China.
At least 21 people have died during the grenade, freezing rain and strong wind during an ultramarathon in northwest China’s Gansu province, local officials said.
On Saturday, around 12 noon (4:00 GMT) on Saturday, “the abrupt and extreme weather” affected a high-altitude section of the 100-kilometer long-distance race held in the river’s stone forest. Yellow, near Baiyin City, officials said during a briefing on Sunday. .
“Towards noon, the uneven section of the race between 20 and 31 kilometers was suddenly affected by a disastrous climate. In a short period of time, hail and ice rain suddenly fell on the local area and there were strong winds. The temperature dropped dramatically, “Baiyin City Mayor Zhang Xuchen said.
Shortly after receiving messages of help from some participants, marathon organizers sent a rescue team that managed to save 18 participants, he said.
Around 2pm (6:00 GMT), weather conditions worsened and the race was immediately called off as local authorities sent more lifeguards to help, Zhang added.
“This incident is a public safety incident caused by sudden changes in weather in a local area,” he said, adding that provincial authorities will further investigate his cause.
Eight more runners were being treated at the hospital for minor injuries, Zhang said.
A total of 172 people took part in the race. As of Sunday, the safety of 151 participants, including the injured, had been confirmed, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Temperatures in the mountainous terrain dropped further overnight, Xinhua said, making it difficult to search and rescue.
A landslide after the severe weather also made rescue work difficult, Baiyin officials said.
Gansu, one of the poorest regions in China, borders Mongolia to the north and Xinjiang to the west.
Deadly floods and landslides have affected the province in the past, and mudslides killed more than 1,000 people in a city in 2010.
It is also prone to earthquakes.
The yellow river stone forest is famous for its rugged mountain landscapes, marked by stalagmites and stone pillars, and is used as a location in many Chinese television programs and movies, according to the China Daily.
Its rock formations are believed to be four billion years old, according to the newspaper.