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Chinese official dies during probe into marathon deaths

China Marathon Deaths
Posted at 2:28 PM, Jun 11, 2021

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese county official appears to have jumped to his death during a probe into the deaths of 21 runners last month when freezing rain and gale-force winds hit the mountain on which they were competing in an ultramarathon.

State television CCTV says police were notified that the Communist Party secretary of Jingtai county in western China had jumped from his apartment and died.

On Friday, the provincial government handed down punishments to 27 officials over the deaths of the runners.

According to the Associated Press, the Gansu provincial government posthumously exempted the Jingtai County Communist Party Secretary but sacked his deputy.

The AP reported that two lower-ranking officials were detained pending an investigation and others received administrative punishments, demotions, warnings and demerits.

A report issued by the province found a lack of adequate planning for the event and a failure to respond effectively once weather conditions deteriorated drastically during the May 22 race.

The report said the organizing committee was guilty of being "overly formalistic and bureaucratic," the AP reported.

One runner who quit the race said no one was dressed for winter-like conditions, with many of them wearing short-sleeved tops.