A Chinese county official was discovered dead in the midst of an investigation into a deadly ultramarathon that claimed the lives of 21 people.
After 21 people were killed during a tragic ultramarathon in northwestern Gansu in May, a Chinese county government official was found dead on Wednesday, sparking an inquiry.
When terrible weather conditions hit the mountain that the racers were competing on, the ultramarathon became a disaster. Hundreds of the 172 runners went missing, according to the New York Times, when cold weather, strong winds, and hail creeped up on them. Officials reportedly did nothing to stop the race, and a rescue attempt was launched soon after, with 21 racers discovered dead.
Police were called to the residence of a guy who had allegedly leaped from his apartment building and died, according to the news agency AFP. Police discovered it was Communist Party secretary Li Zuobi of Jingtai County, the county that hosted the ultramarathon, after additional inquiry. According to AFP, police have ruled out a homicide.
Zuobi’s death was verified by officials at a press briefing on Friday. His tragedy came just days after the Gansu province government sentenced 27 officials to prison for the deaths of 21 marathon runners.
According to the New York Times, the ultramarathon has been dubbed “one of the worst races in the history of long-distance running.”
“Hailstones and ice rain poured in the local area in a short period of time, and there were strong gusts. Zhang Xuchen, the mayor of Baiyin, informed reporters that the temperature had dropped dramatically.
Messages on a private WeChat between runners revealed that some people died of hypothermia, according to published accounts. One runner reported, “The wind is so strong, our thermal blankets have been ripped to shreds.”
Other runners were reported to be unconscious and foaming at the mouth, according to another message. Nearly 700 rescuers and soldiers used radar detectors and thermal imaging drones in the rescue efforts.
The incident sparked requests for more regulation as well as questions about why officials seemed to disregard the weather predictions.
According to the Associated Press, twenty-seven officials, including the mayor of Baiyin city and the county magistrate, were given administrative punishments, demotions, and warnings on Friday, with Zuobi being exempted posthumously. Two additional lower-ranking officials have been arrested and are being investigated further.
According to a criminal report on the 27 officials, the province discovered a lack of. This is a condensed version of the information.