A county official in China has reportedly taken his own life as the investigation into the tragic deaths of 21 marathon runners in Yellow River Stone Forest park last month intensifies, according to local state media.
CCTV said police had been notified on Wednesday that a man jumped from his apartment before dying.
Upon further investigation, he was identified as Jingtai County Communist Party Secretary Li Zuobi with homicide already ruled out.
Also on Friday, the provincial government in Gansu punished 27 officials in relation to the tragedy.
In other news, Gansu provincial level authorities confirmed today that Li Zuobi, party secretary of Jingtai county — where the deadly ultramarathon took place last month — fell to his death from his apartment building two days ago. pic.twitter.com/AeqvOm5F2p
— Beiyi Seow (@beiyis) June 11, 2021
Li was posthumously exempted, but his deputy Zhang Wengling was fired.
Two other officials, who are low-ranking, have been detained. But others were handed a range of administrative punishments, demerits, warnings and demotions.
27 people, including municipal government officials, face disciplinary punishment or criminal charges after being held responsible for the deadly #ultramarathon race in NW China’s Gansu on May 22 where 21 runners were killed, local authorities said on Friday. pic.twitter.com/rb6suMYa4E
— People’s Daily, China (@PDChina) June 11, 2021
A report ordered and issued by Gansu province found that there had been a lack of adequate planning put in place for the event which occurred on May 22.
Additionally, organizers also failed to respond effectively as soon as freezing rain and strong gale-force winds struck on the mountainside where the runners had been competing on the 62-mile track at altitudes of up to 9,800 feet.
Though the race had been held on numerous occasions, its competitors in this latest edition were caught out by the cold weather in shorts and thin clothing, as well as tough conditions on unpaved paths.
Thankfully 50 of the 170 total runners were saved by heroic shepherds that gave them shelter, before a huge all-night rescue mission returned them to safety as many were hospitalized.
According to reports, compensation of $150,000 has already been offered for each victim.
Yet relatives have rejected the amount while claiming that many who lost their lives – such as the well-known Liang Jung who once won the Gobi Desert 100-kms race, were the breadwinners of their families.
And now it remains to be seen how they react to relatively light punishment for the officials too barring Li’s tragic demise.