At least 21 people running a mountain marathon cross-country race were found dead following hail, freezing rain and gale winds hit the high-altitude track in northwestern China.

The local government officials confirmed the news on Sunday, May 23, 2021.

According to the officials, the extremely cold weather struck during a 100km cross-country running race on Saturday (May 22) in China’s northwestern Gansu province, one of China’s poorest regions that borders Mongolia to the north and Xinjiang to the west.

The race was held on Saturday morning in the Yellow River Stone Forest, a scenic tourist site in Jingtai county under the jurisdiction of Baiyin.

According to AP report, out of 172 people who joined the race, 151 are confirmed to be safe, 20 dead and one was missing as of 1 p.m. Saturday.

The state broadcaster CCTV reported that more than 700 rescuers were deployed to the scene for rescue operations although it was extremely difficult for them to work due to the low temperatures and the area’s complex terrain and topography.

Rescuers brought equipment to help in their search efforts

This came after China’s Central Meteorological Station released the first cold warning in 2021 after cities such as the eastern port city of Qingdao recorded the lowest temperature in history and the capital city Beijing had coldest day since the 1960s on Jan 7.

Nearly three weeks prior to the incident, extreme thunderstorms and strong winds in eastern Chinese city left 11 dead and 66 injured and caused buildings and trees to collapse.

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