21 athletes killed in China’s ultra-marathon

Rescue teams searched for missing ultra-marathon participants on Saturday after 21 people were killed due to sudden, extreme cold weather in China’s northwestern Gansu province, state media reported.

The race kicked off in the morning with 172 runners clad in t-shirts and shorts under overcast skies, according to photographs posted on the social media account of the Yellow River Stone Forest scenic area in Jingtai, a county under the jurisdiction of Baiyin city. The 100-km (62-mile) race which started from a lush tourist site at a bend in the Yellow River, China’s second-longest and would have taken runners through deep canyons in a rugged landscape.

Around noon a mountainous section of the race was hit by hail, freezing rain and gales, with temperatures falling sharply, officials from Baiyin told a news briefing on Sunday. By Sunday, 151 participants had been confirmed safe, including the injured, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

A massive rescue effort has been initiated, with over 1,200 rescuers dispatched, assisted by thermal-imaging drones, radar detectors and demolition equipment, according to Xinhua. Temperatures dropped again during the night due to the area’s complex terrain and topography, making the search and rescue more difficult, Xinhua said.

The last missing runner was found dead at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, state television reported.



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