Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has vowed to find out what caused a crane collapse that killed 107 people at Mecca’s Grand Mosque ahead of the annual haj pilgrimage. The haj, a pillar of the Muslim religion which last year drew about two million faithful, will take place despite the tragedy, Saudi authorities said as crowds returned to pray a day after the incident. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims had already arrived in Mecca when the massive red and white crane toppled over during a thunderstorm.
“We will investigate all the reasons and afterwards declare the results to the citizens,” Salman said after visiting the site, one of Islam’s holiest.
Parts of the Grand Mosque remained sealed off around the wreckage of the crane, which also injured around 200 people when it crashed into a courtyard. Pictures of the incident on Twitter showed bloodied bodies strewn across the courtyard, where part of the crane had landed atop an ornate, arched and colonnaded section of the complex.
Meanwhile , Saudi authorities said the annual haj pilgrimage would go ahead despite a crane collapse that killed 107 people at Mecca’s Grand Mosque, where crowds returned to pray a day after the disaster.
Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims have already arrived in Mecca for the haj, one of the world’s largest religious gatherings which last year drew two million worshippers.
Parts of the Grand Mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites, remained sealed around the remains of the red and white crane, accentuating the crush of humanity inside. Worshippers thronged the mosque as the midday call to prayer sounded, according to reporters .
Indonesians and Indians were among those killed when the crane collapsed during a storm on what is the main weekly prayer day for Muslims. Around 200 others were injured.
A Saudi official said this year’s haj, expected to start on September 21, would proceed despite the tragedy. “It definitely will not affect the haj this season and the affected part will probably be fixed in a few days,” said the official, who declined to be named. As world leaders offered condolences, the governor of Mecca region, Prince Khaled al-Faisal, ordered an investigation into the incident.