Friday, September 11, 2015

Crane Collapse 118 Pilgrims dead in the Grand Mosque in Holy Mecca !!

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At least 118 people were killed when a crane crashed in Mecca's Grand Mosque on Friday, Saudi Arabia's Civil Defense authority said, in an accident that came just weeks before Islam's annual hajj pilgrimage.

The civil defense said on its Twitter account 394 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.Al Jazeera's Hasan Patel, reporting from Mecca, said witnesses told him that a crane fell on the third floor of the Grand Mosque at around 5.30pm on Friday.
He said the mosque was packed even though the incident happened before the 6.30pm prayer.
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.
Saudi authorities go to great lengths to prepare for the millions of Muslim who converge on Mecca to perform the sacred pilgrimage. Last year, it reduced the numbers permitted to perform hajj for safety reasons because of construction work to enlarge the Grand Mosque.
The pilgrimage, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, has been prone to disasters in the past, mainly from stampedes as pilgrims rushed to complete rituals and return home. Hundreds of pilgrims died in such a stampede in 2006.
Saudi authorities have since lavished vast sums to expand the main hajj sites and improve Mecca's transportation system, in an effort to prevent more disasters.
Security services often ring Islam's sacred city with checkpoints and other measures to prevent people arriving for the pilgrimage without authorization.

Those procedures, aimed at reducing crowd pressure which can lead to stampedes, fires and other hazards, have been intensified in recent years as security threats grow throughout the Middle East. 
Mecca is Islam's holiest site. Pilgrims from around the world have been converging on the city and the mosque for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which starts on September 21.

Autumn period is when half of Mecca's thunderstorms occur so "it was no great surprise that there were thunderstorms in the area".
"The area of low pressure which brought sandstorms across the Levant region moved further south allowing hot, moist air to develop into thunderstorms along the mountains bordering the Red Sea, and some of those drifted northwards across Mecca.
The crane collapsed near Al-Salam gate on the upper side of Al-Masaa area and that caused the collapse of a small part of Al-Masaa and another section of Al-Mataf, the bridge area around the holy Kaaba,”

Collection by M.Ajmal Khan.

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