Saudi Holy Land Crane Tragedy: Nations Counting Their Victim Losses


As Saudi Arabia during the weekend comes to terms with last Friday’s tragedy in the Holy land which claimed at least 107 lives, the number of dead are still counting and the nation identity are being released. Those nations that suffered most casualty included Iran with 26 dead victims, Bangladesh with about 25 victims, Egypt (20), Turkey (17), Algeria (12), Pakistan (15), India(11), Malaysia (6) and Afghanistan (1)
The tragedy happened when a crane a construction crane collapsed and crashed into World’s most sacred and largest Mosque Masjid al-Haram just as it hoisted visitors for the Friday service, after the crane was hit by lightning and sending the rock solid base of the construction machine collapsing and falling heavily on the victims during the prayer session. The Mosque is the surround shield of the Islam’s holiest place called ‘KAABA’
At least 107 victims lost their lives and another 230 injured and being treated with various magnitude of injuries with many of the injuries life threatening.
Already, the arrival of 2015 HAJJ observing visitors has commenced with the authority assuring that all hands have been on deck to assured a safe Hajj observation this year.
More than 2 Million people are expected and the huge number of the thronging visitors had necessitated the complex expansion currently being carried out. The natural area of the complex had witnessed tremendous modernisation as the Grand Mosque which dated to 1,400 years is currently being given a facelift to meet with the modern age and civilisation, engendering a 20th and 21st century modernisation.
Saudi authority commenced the complex expansion last year so that it would add another 400,000 square meters ( about 4.3m sq ft) so it would accommodate about 2.2million peak time Hajj observes.
It has been confirmed that two British nationals were among the dead with three others being treated for injuries in the hospital.
A victim, Qasim Akran had just arrived in the morning of the tragedy with parents. He was aged 32 years and worked as a private hire driver. His other family members were about 50 yards ahead of him in the walkway of the complex when the crane came down the parent escaped the crane knock.
.’Suddenly, I heard thunder and then we heard a very loud noise. That was the sound of the crane falling,’ Mohammed, a Moroccan pilgrim, said.
An investigative already committee has already been set up to ‘urgently’ begin searching for the cause of the collapse according to SPA News..
The construction contractor handling the expansion has been urged to ensure that other cranes in the complex are safe in the face of the on-going HAJJ pilgrimage observation with most cranes soaring skywards over the extensive expansion area under the Mecca Royal Clock Tower which is the world’s third tallest building.
‘We saw people dying before our eyes’, the Arab News quoted Sheikh Abdul Raheem, a witness, as saying.
The director general of civil defence, Suleiman bin Abdullah al-Amro, told satellite broadcaster Al-Arabiya that the unusually powerful winds that toppled the crane also tore down trees and signs as a storm whipped through the area.
Al-Amro said, ‘The speed of the wind was not normal. There was no way for people to know that the crane was about to collapse for them to scramble,’
The crane fell into the east side of the mosque, with the top section of the structure crashing through the roof on to the third floor.
At least 238 people were injured in the accident, according to civil defense figures.
Authorities did not provide details on the victims’ nationalities, but it was likely that the tragedy will touch a large number of countries. Already, with the dead being buried and many being transported back to their home country,things are getting back to normal at the Mosque hosting more Millions in next few weeks.

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