By Adeola Oladele with Agency Report
Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Emir of Makkah and Advisor of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, has ordered investigation into the Makkah mosque (Haram) tragedy.
A massive construction crane had crashed in the Grand Mosque in stormy weather on Friday evening, killing at least 107 people and injuring 238, Saudi authorities said early on Saturday.
The tragedy occurred as hundreds of thousands of pilgrims gathered from all over the world for the annual Hajj pilgrimage expected to begin on Sept. 21.
In the meantime, President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the provision of security around Nigerian pilgrims in Mecca.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the president commiserated with Saudi monarch, King Salman, the people of Saudi Arabia and world-wide Islamic community over the tragic loss of lives.
Sultan Al-Dosary, Director -General of Media and Public Relations at the governorate, said the committees will examine the causes of the crash of the crane and will present the report quickly. “The emir is closely following up on the tragedy and contacting the concerned authorities. He has directed to make available of the best possible treatment and support to those who sustained injuries,” he said.
Dr. Khaled Al-Habshi, director general of the department for Haj and Umrah at the Red Crescent Authority, said at least 68 emergency teams and ambulances took part in the rescue operation and carried the victims to hospitals.
Field medical teams provided first aid to the injured pilgrims. “Our first emergency team reached the scene within a few minutes after the accident at 5.19 p.m. and they transferred 49 injured people to hospitals,” he said, adding that more teams came from various parts of Makkah as well as from Jeddah and Taif to take part in the rescue operation.
The nationalities of the dead and injured pilgrims are yet to be announced.
The fate of Nigerian pilgrims that may have been involved is yet unknown as some officials of the National Hajj Commission in Saudi contacted by WESTERN POST said they were still waiting for the details on the nationalities of the dead from the Saudi authorities.
Consuls General of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh told Saudi Gazette that so far there were no confirmed reports of death among their pilgrims.
Pakistan Consul General Aftab A. Khokher said that around 15 Pakistani pilgrims were injured and they have been admitted to two hospitals in Makkah.
Indian Consul General B.S. Mubarak said 10 Indian pilgrims were injured in the accident. About 25 Bangladesh pilgrims sustained injuries and their condition is stable, according to A.K.M. Shahidul Karim, consul general of Bangladesh.
Ahmad Al-Mansouri, spokesman of the Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, said the tragedy occurred at 5.10 p.m. due to strong winds and heavy rain, causing a part of the crane to smash into the part of the Grand Mosque where worshippers circumambulate the Holy Kaaba (mataf) and where pilgrims walk between Mount Safa and Marwa (mas’a).