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Weather strands 1,300 on Tibet road

By Daqiong in Lhasa and Cheng Si in Beijing | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-03 07:52

A national highway section in Amdo county, Tibet autonomous region, was cleared to allow traffic to resume on Thursday after heavy snow stranded about 1,300 people on the road for a few days.

Continuous snowfall has hit the county since Sunday, causing icy and snow-covered road conditions as temperatures dropped to as low as - 25 C, according to the county's emergency response office.

Some of the stranded drivers came down with altitude sickness, and officials listed it as a cause of the death of Zhao Jipeng, a male driver from Shandong province, whom emergency workers could not revive. Two other drivers with altitude sickness were receiving treatment at a hospital, the office said.

More than 70 vehicles broke down in the extreme cold as electrical systems failed and liquids froze, worsening the sluggish traffic.

As of 6 pm on Wednesday, more than 900 vehicles were lined up on a 60-kilometer stretch of National Highway 109, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing the government of Nagchu prefecture, which administers Amdo county. Police, ambulances and mechanics were dispatched to help.

Thanks to rescue efforts organized by local governments and the armed police force, oxygen cylinders were sent to drivers trapped in the thin air of higher altitudes.

The Nagchu Corps of the Chinese People's Armed Police Force helped clear the road and rescue stranded drivers, said Li Jinwei, director of the political department. Officers also handed out bottled water, instant noodles and bread to those trapped on the highway.

By noon on Thursday, traffic slowly resumed in both directions, thanks in part to a clear sky and efforts to clear the road, according to the county's emergency response office.

Mechanics were still repairing more than 70 vehicles on Thursday afternoon, said Choitse Sangmo, an official in charge of road maintenance in the county. More than 1,200 vehicles have been detoured around the area.

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