A crane collapsed on the Grand Mosque in Mecca on Friday, killing at least 60 people who were visiting on their annual pilgrimage. 154 are believed to have been injured.
Update, 7:52PM: CNN is reporting the death toll at Mecca’s Grand Mosque has increased to 107. Saudi authorities also report more than 200 people were injured and are being treated for their wounds. The crane fell as a consequence of a strong thunderstorm and following sandstorm, which eyewitnesses on the group report also uprooted numerous trees and threatened a number of upright structures in Mecca.
Those injured are believed to all be Muslim migrants. Egypt and India appear to be the countries with the largest number of citizens injured or killed.
Video of the crash and aftermath– much of it graphic in nature– has surfaced on social media:
سقوط رافعة في مسجد الحرام لا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله …. pic.twitter.com/uhBoPbTUvo
— Me (@MrAlsadoun) September 11, 2015
Mecca today. pic.twitter.com/EvrngsxiYv
— Susu (@Toozfeek__) September 11, 2015
# Video – the fall of the crane in the Grand Mosque in Mecca – Saudi Arabia just now – pic.twitter.com/qVHeZMw9gx
— ghadeer USA (@ghadeerUSA) September 11, 2015
— Khaleej Times (@khaleejtimes) September 11, 2015
— Khalf News (@khalfnewseng) September 11, 2015
Pictures of the horrific accident are currently flooding social media. Thousands of Muslims descend on Mecca every year for the Hajj pilgrimage.
— Dr Sohail Khan (@Sohaiill) September 11, 2015
— Dr Neelu Goswami (@NeelakshiGswm) September 11, 2015
— FreeAnniNow (@amsad) September 11, 2015
The civil defense authority said at least 30 people received injuries.
— Breaking News (@NewsOnTheMin) September 11, 2015
Intense winds surrounding the mosque are said to have caused the fall. Al-Arabiya television reported that sand storms had been engulfing Mecca for days and a strong gust had caused the crash.
62 died and 30 severely injured when the sandstorm in Mecca knocked over a crane pic.twitter.com/UC1Wqe9sp0
— ❥ wôndërwömæñ (@rokiiir) September 11, 2015
In April, the government announced construction workers finished 95% of the Grand Mosque’s expansion “thanks to 30 months of non-stop work ordered by the late Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.” Reuters reported the government limited the number of pilgrims to Mecca last year due to construction. The construction is largely intended to accommodate more pilgrims for the hajj, the mandatory journey all Muslims must make to Mecca’s holy sites.