At least 16 people were killed and five were missing during a 100-km mountain run suddenly hit by hail, freezing rain and strong winds in northwest China, according to the official China News Agency.
“Very bad weather engulfed the area during the race,” which was taking place at the Yellow River Stone Forest Natural Site near Baiyin Township, Gansu County, said the contestant, stating that more than 700 rescuers had been mobilized to search for the missing.
The New China newspaper reported that “cold, freezing rain and winds hit the high-altitude race” at around 1 am on Saturday (7 pm GMT), bringing the temperature down suddenly.
She added: “On Sunday morning, 151 participants were safe, five of them were slightly injured and treated in hospital,” adding that 172 contestants participated in the race.
For its part, Al-Shaab Daily newspaper presented a slightly different toll, reporting 15 dead and 6 missing.
The Yellow River Stone Forest is a natural landmark known for its stunning four billion-year-old rock formations, often used as a setting for movies or TV shows in China.
This site is located in Gansu Province, one of the poorest regions in China, which borders Xinjiang and Mongolia. This county was hit many times in the past by deadly earthquakes, floods and landslides.