21 cold runners die during mountain ultramarathon in China

At least 21 people died of cold during a mountain race held this Saturday in a tourist area of ​​the north China’s province of Gansu, reports the local press today. The race, in which the 172 participants had to cover more than 100 kilometers, the distance of an ultramarathon, cross country in a mountainous area, was interrupted after some of them showed signs of hypothermia and physical problems after the sudden fall of temperatures in a high altitude area.

Affected by hail, freezing rain and gales around 1:00 p.m. local time this Saturday, some of them disappeared. Rescue teams confirmed the death of up to 20 of the runners around 08:00 local time this Sunday. The authorities deployed a team of more than 1,200 troops to try to find another runner who was missing, who was found at 9:30 a.m. local time, according to the television network. CCTV.

The last part offered by the local government indicates that 151 of the participants are safe, although eight of them suffered minor injuries for which they have received medical treatment, and are stable. According to rescuers, the main problem was that temperatures dropped to close to zero degrees Celsius while the runners wore thin clothing that did not protect them from the cold.

The mayor of Baiyin was commissioned to report on the event: “Around noon, the high-altitude section of the race between 20 and 31 km was suddenly affected by disastrous weather conditions. In a short time, hail and freezing rain fell from Sudden over the area, and there were strong winds. The temperature dropped sharply. ” After receiving some calls from participants for help, a rescue team was dispatched to rescue 18 runners.

Up to 700 rescuers mobilized to find the missing, leaving images with the rescue services decked out in flashlights at night and climbing in search of runners with clear symptoms of hypothermia. One of the survivors explained the experience in the local press: “My whole body was soaked, including my shoes and socks. I could not stand upright because of the wind, I was very afraid that the wind would carry me away. The cold was increasingly unbearable. “.

The rescue services, transferring one of the runners who died of cold during an ultramarathon in China

REUTERS

It all happened in the stone forest of the yellow River, which is located in this region of Gansu. This area borders Mongolia to the north, a place where floods and other similar phenomena usually occur. In 2010, a landslide caused more than 1,000 deaths in a city in this location. It is also often affected by earthquakes, one of the reasons that maintains this area with its rugged landscape. It is the ideal place for this type of ultramarathons that have become fashionable in recent years and that are only reserved for the most prepared athletes.

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