Jeddah, 28 Dhulqo’dah 1436/12 September 2015 (MINA) – More than 100 people have been killed and scores more wounded in Makkah’s Grand Mosque after a crane collapsed on Friday, Al Arabiya News Channel reported citing the Saudi Civil Defense authority.
According to other scores, at least 107 people killed and 238 others injured, It is believed the crane collapsed in high winds and severe rainfall.
The Saudi civil defense Twitter account said 15 search and rescue teams were at the scene, transporting the wounded to hospital.
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.
The Emir of Makkah Prince Khaled Al-Faisal has commissioned a committee to investigate the cause of the deadly collapse.
News of the collapse came about an hour after civil defense tweeted that Mecca was “witnessing medium to heavy rains.”
The incident occurred as hundreds of thousands of Muslims are due to gather from around the world for the annual hajj pilgrimage set to begin later this month.
More than 50 rescue teams and 80 ambulances converged on the mosque as part of the rescue effort after the crane fell at 5:24 p.m. local time (10:23 a.m. ET), said Saudi Civil Defense Director Maj. Gen Suleiman al-Amro.
A strong thunderstorm developed over Mecca at about 4 p.m. local time Friday (9 a.m. ET), bringing gusty winds that shifted direction and caused the local temperature to drop from 42 to 25 degrees Celsius (107.6 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit), CNN meteorologists reported.(T/R04/R03)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)