Watch: 87 dead in Makkah Grand Mosque crane crash

Riyadh - 184 injured as storm causes huge crane to crash into Grand Mosque.



Bodies of pilgrims in Haram Al Sharif.
Bodies of pilgrims in Haram Al Sharif.

By AFP

Published: Fri 11 Sep 2015, 8:39 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Feb 2023, 9:41 PM

At least 87 people were killed when a crane crashed in the holy city of Makkah's Grand Mosque on Friday, Saudi Arabia's Civil Defence Authority said, in an accident that came just weeks before Haj pilgrimage.

The head of the Civil Defence Authority told Al Akhbariya TV 184 people were also injured in the accident. Al Arabiya television earlier said the crane had fallen because of strong storms - western Saudi Arabia has been hit by strong sand storms in the last few days.

Pictures circulating on social media showed pilgrims in bloodied robes and masses of debris from a part of the crane that seemed to have crashed through a ceiling.

New Delhi said nine Indians were among those injured, while the UAE said its official Haj mission members were safe.

The governor of Makkah region, Prince Khaled Al Faisal, ordered an investigation into the incident.

A picture of the crane that crashed into Makkah' Grand Mosque on Friday.
A picture of the crane that crashed into Makkah' Grand Mosque on Friday.

Witnesses said the mosque was packed, even though the incident happened shortly before the 6.30pm prayer. According to a report on Al Jazeera television, the crane fell on the third floor on the east side of the mosque after heavy rain. It said that the building's doors were shut and people were locked inside. Its reporter said there was "slight pandemonium" and that one person was killed in the rush to get out.

"The authorities closed off the area shortly afterwards. This whole place is already a construction site.

Saudi Civil Defense officials visit the site of the crane crash in Makkah's Grand Mosque.
Saudi Civil Defense officials visit the site of the crane crash in Makkah's Grand Mosque.

"What made it worse is that around 5.30pm there was severe rain and it's just gushing down the road. I am surrounded by people who are grieving. The mood here is of sadness," an Al Jazeera reporter said.

A massive project is currently underway to increase the area of the mosque by 400,000 square metres, allowing it to accommodate up to 2.2 million people at once. - Agencies


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