LANZHOU, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Twenty people were confirmed dead and another one still missing after extreme weather hit participants in a 100-km cross-country mountain marathon race in northwest China's Gansu Province, local authorities told a press briefing on Sunday morning.
The marathon race was held on Saturday morning in the Yellow River Stone Forest tourist site in Jingtai County, Baiyin City.
According to the rescue headquarters, at about 1 p.m. Saturday, hails, freezing rain and gales hit the area of the race's high-altitude stage between 20 to 31 km. Participants suffered from physical discomfort and loss of temperature due to the sudden drop in air temperature.
Some of the participants went missing and the race was halted.
As of 8 a.m. Sunday, 20 people were found dead and the rescue of the missing one is under way.
Local governments initiated an emergency response and organized over 1,200 well-equipped rescuers to search for the missing person, said Zhang Xuchen, mayor of Baiyin City, at the press briefing.
The temperature dropped again during the night due to the area's complex terrain and topography, making the search and rescue more difficult.
As of 8 a.m. Sunday, 151 mountain marathon participants were confirmed safe, of which eight with minor injuries were treated in the hospital and in stable condition.
A total of 172 people took part in the mountain marathon race. Enditem