107 die in Makkah tragedy, Saudi authorities confirm

Photo: newmail-ng.com

Authorities in Saudi Arabia has confirmed that 107 people died in Friday’s tragedy in Makkah.

Ahmad Al-Mansouri, the spokesperson for the Presidency on the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, said “at least 107 people were dead and another 238 were injured”.

The Saudi Gazette News reported Saturday that Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, the emir of Makkah and advisor of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, has ordered an investigation into the incident.

The tragedy occurred at 5.10 p.m. Friday due to strong winds and heavy rain, causing a part of a crane to smash into the part of the Grand Mosque where worshippers circumnavigate the Holy Kaaba (mataf) and where pilgrims walk between Mount Safa and Marwa.

“A massive construction crane crashed in the Grand Mosque in stormy weather on Friday evening, killing at least 107 people and injuring 238,” the authorities were quoted as saying.

Although hajj rites are expected to begin Sept. 21, pilgrims have started to arrive the holy city from around the world.

The nationalities of the dead and injured pilgrims are yet to be announced by the authorities.

Consuls General of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh told Saudi Gazette that so far, there were no confirmed reports of death among their pilgrims but reported scores of injuries on some on their delegations.

No Nigerian has so far been reported to have been caught up in the tragedy.

Suleiman Al-Amr, director general of the Civil Defence Authority, told Al-Ikhbariya television that strong wind and rains had uprooted trees and affected cranes in the area.

“All those who were wounded and the dead have been taken to hospital,” he said.

However, normalcy has since returned at the Haram while cleaning of debris is still on going.

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