By Newsgram staff writer
Riyadh: At least 87 people were killed after a crane collapsed on to the Grand Mosque in the Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca, which is preparing for the Annual Haj pilgrimage, authorities said.
154 people were also injured in the accident, stated the civil defence on its twitter account. Among them 9 are Indians.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted: “We have received reports that 9 Indian pilgrims are injured.”
Swarup added that the Indian consulate in Jeddah is “monitoring the situation in Makkah following the tragic accident”.
Senior officers including the Indian consul-general “are on the ground in Makkah. Indian doctors are deployed in all government hospitals and ascertaining more information”, another tweet by Swarup added.
Al Arabiya television reported the cause of the crane falling to be strong sand storms which have been hitting western Saudi Arabia since the past few days.
Images on social media appear to show part of a huge crane crashed through the mosque roof. After the conclusion of the current and final expansion, the mosque could accommodate more than three million worshipers in one hour.
Mecca, the holiest city for Islam, is preparing for the annual Haj, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, for which thousands of Muslims are expected to arrive from all over the world later in September.
These gatherings of millions often lead to stampedes, fires or other hazards. Saudi authorities have spent vast sums to ensure better safety and transportation, and prevent disasters.