Crane collapse kills 107 pilgrims in Mecca Grand Mosque in Saudi (VIDEO)
12 September 2015, Nirapad News: At least 107 people have been killed and more than 230 injured after a crane crashed into the middle of Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mosque in Mecca on Friday.
It is believed the crane had been blown over by strong winds and storms, breaking part of the roof and causing rubble to fall on those praying below.
The Saudi Civil Defence authority confirmed the incident on Twitter and gave details of the number of casualties.
The annual Muslim Haj pilgrimage is due later this month, and Saudi authorities go to great lengths to be prepared for the millions of Muslims who converge on Mecca.
Last year, the kingdom reduced the numbers permitted to perform haj for safety reasons because of construction work to enlarge the Grand Mosque.
General Suleiman al-Amr, director general of the Civil Defence Authority, told al-Ikhbariya television 183 people were injured.
“All those who were wounded and the dead have been taken to hospital. There are no casualties left at the location,” he added.
Strong wind and rains had uprooted trees and affected cranes in the area, he said.
A statement by a spokesman for the administration of the mosques in Mecca and Medina said the crane smashed into the part of the Grand Mosque where worshippers circumambulate the Kaaba and where pilgrims walk between Mount Safa and Marwa.
Saudi Arabia has begun an investigation into why a crane collapsed in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, killing at least 107 people.
The huge red crane crashed into a part of the Grand Mosque as it was filled with worshippers.
Correspondents say there have previously been concerns about safety records on Saudi construction sites.
The Grand Mosque, known as the Masjid al-Haram, is the largest mosque in the world and surrounds Islam’s holiest place, the Kaaba.
Mecca is currently preparing for the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. Up to two million people are expected to arrive in the Saudi city from all over the world later this month.
Irfan Al-Alawi, from the Islamic Heritage Research Foundation, told the BBC that the Grand Mosque is currently surrounded by 15 large cranes amid major redevelopment work.
The original parts of the Grand Mosque date back 1,400 years. Consisting of a large square surrounded by covered prayer areas, the building has since been extensively modernised, notably from the mid-20th Century.
Saudi authorities began a major expansion of the site last year to increase the area of the mosque by 400,000 square metres (4.3 million square feet), to allow it to accommodate up to 2.2 million people at once.