Mecca Grand Mosque accident: 2 Indians killed, 15 others injured

  • Agencies, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 13, 2015 21:46 IST
A collapsed crane and emergency services vehicles are seen near the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. The accident happened as pilgrims from around the world converged for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which takes place this month, killing dozens. (AP Photo)

Two Indians were among 107 killed in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca where a construction crane crashed into the Grand Mosque on Friday. The accident also left 15 Indians injured.

"Our officials from the Indian Consulate in Jeddah have been on the ground and monitoring the situation through the night. We have received reports that 15 Indians have been injured are being assisted in various hopsitals," ministry of external affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.

He also said that two Indians have been killed in the unfortunate accident.

Swarup said senior officers including the Consul General are in Mecca and Indian doctors deployed in all government hospitals are trying to get more information.

President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives in the crane collapse.

"Heartfelt condolences to families of deceased due to crane crash in Mecca, prayers for speedy recovery of the injured," President Mukherjee tweeted.

Prime Minister Modi, in a tweet, said, "My thoughts & prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives in the crane crash in Mecca. I wish the injured a quick recovery."

The incident occurred as hundreds of thousands of Muslims from all over the world gather for the annual hajj pilgrimage expected to begin on September 21.

The Grand Mosque is usually at its most crowded on Fridays, the Muslim weekly day of prayer.

Many faithful would have been gathered there ahead of evening maghrib prayers, which occurred about an hour after the tragedy.

A massive project is underway to expand the area of the mosque by 400,000 square metres (4.3 million square feet), allowing it to accommodate up to 2.2 million people at once.

Though marred in the past by deadly incidents including floods, stampedes and fires, the hajj has become nearly incident-free in recent years because of multi-billion dollar investments.

These have included transport networks and other infrastructure to facilitate movement of the crowds.

SPA said that almost 800,000 pilgrims had arrived by Friday for the hajj, which all able-bodied Muslims are expected to perform if they have the means to do so.

Last year, just over two million people took part.

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