CAIRO: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi offered condolences to Saudi King over the death of 107 in the Muslim holy city of Mecca after a construction crane collapsed Friday, read a presidency statement.
The accident took place Friday night at the Grand Mosque or the “Masjid al-Haram,” the largest mosque in the world, when many worshippers were present.
Saudi officials said that strong winds and heavy rains were behind the crane’s collapse. Construction works to enlarge the Grand Mosque has been ongoing.
A YouTube video recorded by an eyewitness captured the moment the crane collapsed, accompanied by sounds of screams and shouting.
Disturbing images of blood and dead bodies on the floor were also posted on social media shortly after the accident.
Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims are flocking into Mecca as the city is preparing for the five-day annual Muslim ritual of the Hajj, meaning pilgrimage, which will start Sept. 22.
Egypt’s Health Ministry announced that some 22 Egyptians are among the 238 injured in the crane collapse.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced it is following up on the state of the injured Egyptian pilgrims.
For the year 2015, approximately 70,000 Egyptian pilgrims are traveling to Mecca to perform the ritual; 19,000 are lot-chosen, a government procedure that offers the cheapest means to go for pilgrimage, 10,000 are supported by the Ministry of Social Solidarity and 40,000 are travelling via tourism companies.
The annual ritual usually witnesses deaths among pilgrims, either due to a sudden health crisis or mostly due to stampedes in the largest Muslim gathering in the year.