At least 21 people died of cold during a mountain race held this Saturday in a tourist area in the northern Chinese province of Gansu, local press reported today.
The race, in which the 172 participants had to cover more than 100 kilometers cross country in a mountainous area, was interrupted after some of them showed signs of hypothermia and physical problems after the sudden drop in temperatures in an area of great altitude.
Affected by hail, freezing rain and gales around 1:00 p.m. local time (05:00 GMT) yesterday, some of them disappeared.
Rescue teams confirmed the death of up to 21 of the runners around 08:00 local time (00:00 GMT) this Sunday.
Authorities deployed a team of more than 1,200 troops to try to find another corridor who is still missing, but a new drop in temperatures in the area overnight made tasks difficult.
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 garments that did not protect them from the cold.