Twenty die in China cross-country race hit by extreme weather

Beijing: At least 20 people running a mountain marathon cross-country race have died in north-western China after hail, freezing rain and gale winds hit the high-altitude track, rescuers said Sunday.

The rescue headquarters quoted by the official Xinhua News Agency said participants suffered from physical discomfort and the sudden drop in temperature.

Emergency personnel and vehicles wait on standby at the Yellow River Stone Forest tourist site in Baiyin in north-western China’s Gansu Province.Credit:AP

Some went missing in the extreme weather around 1pm on Saturday, when the 100-kilometre race in the Yellow River Stone Forest tourist site in Baiyin city in Gansu province was halted.

Early on Sunday, 20 people were found dead and one was missing, state broadcaster CCTV reported. More than 700 rescuers were taking part in the operation, made difficult by low nighttime temperatures and the area’s complex terrain and topography.

A total of 172 people joined the race and 151 are confirmed to be safe, with one runner remaining missing. Eight runners were treated for minor injuries and were stable, officials said.

Temperatures dropped again during the night due to the area’s complex terrain and topography, making the search and rescue more difficult, Xinhua said.

A landslide following the severe weather also hampered the rescue work, the Baiyin officials said.

AP, with wires

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