The extreme cold weather in China’s northwestern Gansu province has killed more than 20 people during an ultramarathon race.
According to media reports, twenty-one ultramarathon runners have died when extremely cold weather with freezing rains and hailstones struck Gansu province of China.
“Abrupt, extreme weather hit a high-altitude section of the 100-kilometre cross-country race held in the Yellow River Stone Forest near Baiyin city at around noon (04:00 GMT),” officials said.
“At around noon, the high-altitude section of the race between 20 and 31 kilometres was suddenly affected by disastrous weather. In a short period of time, hailstones and ice rain suddenly fell in the local area, and there were strong winds. The temperature sharply dropped,” said Baiyin city mayor Zhang Xuchen.
“Shortly after receiving messages of help from some participants, marathon organisers dispatched a rescue team that managed to save 18 participants,” he said.
“At about 2pm (06:00 GMT), weather conditions worsened and the race was immediately called off as local authorities sent more rescuers to help,” Zhang added.
“This incident is a public safety incident caused by sudden changes in weather in a local area,” he said.
Media reports further informed that the other eight runners were being treated in hospital for minor injuries.
A total of 172 people took part in the race. As of Sunday, 151 participants had been confirmed safe, including the injured, reports added.
However, the Gansu provincial government has set up an investigation team to further look into the cause of the deaths.