Second Guangzhou Marathon runner dies

Brother of dead man, 25, says death not just an accident; accuses race organisers of negligence

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 November, 2012, 3:46am

A second runner who participated in a portion of the Guangzhou Marathon has died, succumbing on Monday night after being in a coma for eight days at a local hospital.

The death has increased public scrutiny of the southern city's first marathon, which some participants have said was not properly managed. Ding Xiqiao, a 25-year-old real estate agent, collapsed about 300 metres from the finish of the 5K portion of the November 18 race.

He received help while on the ground, including mouth-to-mouth resuscitation from some fellow runners, but he was not admitted to Guangzhou No 6 Hospital until more than an hour later, resulting in speculation about whether negligence on the part of the race organisers was partially to blame for the death. The victim's older brother, Ding Hongqiao, who also participated in the 5K race, said paramedics did not arrive for more than 20 minutes after they were called, and they had to call a second ambulance because the first was not properly equipped to treat the younger Ding.

"First aid came from other runners," Ding Hongqiao said. "Why did the professional medical staff arranged by the marathon organisers come so late? I think human errors were made, and [my brother's death] was not simply an accident."

Ding's death followed that of a 21-year-old university student Chen Jie, who collapsed just after reaching the finish line of the 10K portion of the race on the same day. He received medical treatment at the scene but died at a nearby hospital the next morning.

The marathon's organising committee released a statement on Monday evening saying that both runners received "timely and effective" first aid at the scene as well as treatment at hospital, and that the committee had covered all medical expenses.

Chen's parents had originally asked for 1 million yuan (HK$1.23 million) in compensation, but later lowered their demand to 400,000 yuan. The organising committee, however, agreed to pay 300,000 yuan.

Wu Minchun, an official with the committee, was reportedly taking a hardline stance on the matter. He was quoted by the news portal as saying: "If Chen's family can't accept the compensation, then they can take it to court."

Ding Hongqiao said his family wanted an "impartial conclusion" about his brother's death to be reached.