ChinaHail and high winds hit as a 100 km race was taking place on top of the mountains in Gansu province, killing at least 20 athletes.

According to the Guardian, besides the 20 people killed, there were eight other athletes injured and one athlete still missing after a hailstorm with high winds at 13:00 on May 22. The disaster happened when athletes were competing in the 100km mountain running competition in the northwest of Gansu province.

The race is paused. Authorities deployed more than 700 rescuers and the military to search the Yellow River rocky forest area to rescue the victims.

Inclement weather makes rescue work difficult.  Photo: AFP

Inclement weather makes rescue work difficult. Image: AFP

The temperature in the disaster area dropped deeply at night, making search and rescue work difficult. “As of 3 a.m. on May 23, 151 athletes have been confirmed to be safe, of which five with minor injuries are being treated at the hospital and in stable condition.” Xinhua News Agency news. A total of 172 athletes participated in this race.

Gansu is one of China’s poorest provinces. It is bordered by Mongolia to the North and Xinjiang to the West. Floods and landslides are common in this province. In 2010, a landslide killed 1,000 people in a small town. This place is also prone to earthquakes.

The Yellow River Stone Forest is famous for its rugged scenery and mountains, with thousands of natural sandstone columns and stalagmites formed by the geological activity of the Earth’s crust. It used to be the natural setting for many Chinese TV shows and movies. The rock formations of the area are believed to be up to 4 billion years old.

The 100km mountain race starts at a popular tourist spot, at the bend of the Yellow River – China’s second longest. The track will take athletes running through deep gorges with rugged terrain. The race begins on the morning of May 22. In the photos posted on social media, the athletes, wearing T-shirts and shorts, run under the overcast sky.

Xuan Thang synthetic


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