Hail, rain and freezing cold. This was a drop-off for at least 21 participants of a mountain marathon in northwest China. They did not survive the 100 km marathon. Local media reported that senior Chinese long-distance runners were among the dead.
According to the New China News Agency (Xinhua), there were more than 700 rescue workers on duty. According to Xinhua, the storm broke out on Saturday afternoon when 172 participants walked between 20 and 31 km through mountainous areas. Temperatures have dropped dramatically in a very short time. In addition, there was a storm with violent gusts.
The consequences of the sudden storm were fatal: many runners were lost on steep terrain, had a lower body temperature, and were exhausted. Participants strongly called for help on cell phones. Someone wrote in a text message: “Come to the mountains to save the people.” “Too much cold and waste.”
Another wrote, “We are in a valley.” “A runner is hypothermic and unable to move.” As it was stated: “Some are unconscious.” As the calls for help said: “It’s tragic” and “Come as soon as possible!” Or “the wind is very strong.” Local authorities canceled the marathon and organized a rescue operation with 1,200 helpers, which lasted until Sunday, according to state media.
Drones equipped with temperature sensors have been used
The search was very difficult in the rugged terrain of up to 2000 meters. Only the first 24 kilometers of the road could be crossed by car. Temperatures continued to drop overnight. And state media said that drones equipped with temperature sensors were used to track the missing. The runners returning from the mountains reported that near the second checkpoint, freezing rain fell suddenly and gusty winds blew. Some cried and shuddered and reported seeing the weary runners lying on the ground.
The provincial government has set up a special commission to investigate the accidents. “As the organizers of the event, we feel very guilty and blame ourselves,” Baiyin Mayor Zhang Shuxin said at a press conference. We express our sincere condolences to the victims and their families. ” The search was completed on Sunday morning. All missing have been found. 151 marathon participants safely.
The 100-kilometer mountain marathon in the scenic resort area is held annually for four years with shorter cross-country runs of up to 21 kilometers. The South China Morning Post in Hong Kong reports that nearly 10,000 participants have registered for three different rounds.
“The cold is getting more and more unbearable.”
Video recordings showed rescue workers using flashlights to climb across the rocky terrain at night. Some of the marathon participants were photographed, wrapped in heavy blankets, while being placed on a stretcher by rescuers. “My whole body was wet, including my shoes and socks. One of the survivors told local media that the cold was becoming more and more unbearable.
According to media, the victims included leading local marathon runners Liang Jing and Huang Guanjun. Liang has won several Chinese ultramarathons in the past few years. Huang, who was deaf and dumb, won the hearing impaired men’s marathon at the 2019 National Paralympic Games in Tianjin.
An ultramarathon is organized in the Stone Forest on the Yellow River, which is a mountainous area famous for its stone formations. Gansu Province, one of the poorest regions in China, borders Mongolia to the north and Xinjiang Province to the west.
“Even my tongue felt frozen.”
Most of the athletes were only wearing light clothing. Carried loudlyCNN“Just a shirt and shorts. Too little for the sudden drop in temperatures.” At one point I no longer felt my fingers. Even my tongue felt frozen, “said one of the contestants.Red Star News»Then he decided to stop the race.
A rescue worker ordered him to find shelter in a nearby log cabin. There were actually ten other contestants there. “We waited together in the hut for about an hour to save us. In the end we were 50 hut athletes. ”I was lucky and survived the mega marathon. (SDA / Jim)
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