Saudi Arabia to investigate crane collapse in Mecca

Saudi officials order investigations to be carried out into crane collapse which killed at least 107 worshipers at Muslim holy city of Mecca

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Construction crane which destroyed a section of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia 12 September, 2015

Updated Sep 13, 2015

Saudi authorities have reported that heavy rain and strong winds which are believed to have caused a construction crane to topple onto Mecca's Grand Mosque on Friday, killing at least 107 people, will be investigated further.

"Heavy rain and strong winds of unusually high speed led to the uprooting of trees, the fall of panels and the collapse of the crane," General Suleiman al Amr, director general of the Civil Defence Authority, told Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV on Saturday.

Mecca's governor, Prince Khaled al Faisal, has called for an investigation to be carried out into the incident, Al Arabiya has reported.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman vowed to find the cause of the accident after his visit to the site of the incdient and a visit to the injured pilgrims at Al Nour Hospital.

Currently, numerous construction towers cover the skyline of Mecca as the holy site undergoes expansion and renovations to cater to the growing number of muslims visiting the city to fulfill their Hajj pilgrimage. 

Construction towers seen over the skyline of Mecca

The pilgrimage is considered to be a religious duty for all Muslims and it is expected for them to carry it out at least once in their lifetimes.

Although Mecca is expected to see over two million Hajj pilgrims this year, Saudi Arabia has reduced the number of people it will take in from each Muslim country to ensure the safety of visitors. 

The accident, which took place at roughly 17:23 local time (14:23 GMT) on Friday, reportedly killed at least 107 people and injured about 238 others. However, al-Amr stated that the number of deaths may rise. 

Photos shared on social media show pilgrims in bloodied robes and huge debris from a piece of the crane that seems to have ripped right through the ceiling.

Damage caused by collapsed crane in Mecca, Saudi Arabia

The tragic accident will not affect schedules and the pilgrimage will continue as planned, reported an unnamed Saudi official cited by the Al Arabia news channel.

"The incident won't affect the Hajj pilgrimage this year and repairs to the damaged section pof the mosque] will begin within days," the official said.

Muslims from around the world have already arrived at the holy city in order to fulfill the holy pilgrimage which is expected to commence on September 21. 

The Saudi Press Agency reports that since 12 September, 2015, 888,165 pilgrims have so far arrived by air, 12802 by land, and 8637 by sea. 

TRTWorld and agencies