Post link 12 September 2015, 1:53
Carnage in Mecca: At least 107 people killed and 238 injured after Bin Laden firm crane collapses on Grand Mosque during freak lightning storm
. Upsetting pictures on show bodies strewn across floor after crane's boom crashed straight through the ceiling
. Accident struck while millions of Muslims are in the holy city for annual hajj pilgrimage which starts later this month
. Authorities had issued extreme weather warnings and earlier photos capture mosque being struck by lightning
. Crane part of massive project to increase the area of the mosque so it can accommodate 2.2million people at once


By JACK CRONE FOR MAILONLINE PUBLISHED: 18:08, 11 September 2015

Click on pictures to enlarge
http://mastakongo.com/english/images/Articles_photo/September2015/kaaba-A_picture_captures_the_moment_that_the_fatal_crane_was_struck.jpgThunderstorms: A picture captures the moment the fatal crane was struck by lightning prior to collapsing into the mosque, killing dozens
Holy site: The Great Mosque houses the Kaaba - the massive cube-shaped structure towards which Muslims worldwide pray


At least 107 people were killed and 238 injured when a crane crashed through the ceiling of the Grand Mosque of Mecca amid high winds and thunderstorms today.
Dramatic footage shows the moment the crane toppled in heavy rain, with another video capturing the chaos and confusion inside the building as people ran for cover after the devastating impact.

Photos posted on social media sees the polished tiled floor of the mosque covered in rubble, bodies and pools of blood, and people fleeing the area bleeding and covered in soot.

The tragic incident in Saudi Arabia occurred shortly before the 6:30pm Friday evening prayer session - one of the busiest times of the week - causing devastation to what is the largest mosque in the world.

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The moment the crane collapses at Mecca's Grand Mosque

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Gaping hole: The collapsed crane has caused a huge crater in the floor of the Great Mosque, which was undergoing an expansion

The crane fell into the east side of the mosque, with its boom crashing through the roof, killing at least 107 people - with nine Indian citizens, 16 Pakistanis and 15 Iranians reportedly among the dead.

The governor of Mecca region, Prince Khaled al-Faisal, has ordered an investigation into the incident and was seen talking with police at the mosque a few hours after the tragedy.

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Online activists created a hashtag on Twitter urging Mecca residents to donate blood at hospitals in the area.
The crane belongs to a German crane company operated by the Bin Laden family's consortium, who are heading the expansion of the Holy Mosque.

Saudi BinLaden Group was founded by Osama's Bin Laden's billionaire father Mohammed and the sprawling construction conglomerate runs a large amount of major building contracts in the Sunni kingdom.
Hundreds of thousands of Muslims are gathering at the holy site from all over the world for the annual hajj pilgrimage set to begin later this month.

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Horror: Rescue workers, locals and pilgrims who have journeyed to Mecca watch in horror as victims of the crane accident are laid out

HOW THE BIN LADEN'S BUILT SAUDI ARABIA
The Bin Laden family is responsible for a huge amount of major building contracts in Saudi Arabia, through Binladen Group.
The sprawling construction conglomerate was founded by Osama Bin Laden's father Mohammed and exerts huge influence over the kingdom.


The family firm is heading the £14bn expansion of the Great Mosque, where disaster struck today with tragic consequences.
Other projects include building stations for the Haramain High-Speed rail link, and construction work at the world's tallest building, Kingdom Tower, in Jeddah.

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

Heavy death toll: At least 107 people were killed and more than 150 were injured in today's accident in Saudi Arabia's holy city

Vast construction work: A view of Mecca shows hundreds of cranes operating on building sites sprawled across the holy city


A massive £14billion project is currently underway to increase the area of the mosque by 4.3million sq ft - so that it can accommodate up to 2.2 million people at once.

Pictures taken before the disaster show the crane being struck by a bolt of lightning and authorities are in little doubt extreme weather was to blame.

Earlier, the Civil Defense had issued thunderstorm, heavy rain and wind warnings in the area. Following the collapse, hundreds of rescue medical workers rushed to the scene and were pictured stretchering bodies away, while many walking wounded stumbled out of the building.

'All those who were wounded and the dead have been taken to hospital. There are no casualties left at the location,' General Suleiman al-Amr, director general of the Civil Defence Authority, told al-Ikhbariya television.
Strong wind and rains had uprooted trees and rocked cranes in the area, he said.

The Grand Mosque, or Great Mosque of Mecca, surrounds Islam's holiest place, the Kaaba, in the city of Mecca.
The mosque is usually at its most crowded on Fridays as it is the Muslim weekly day of prayer, when Muslims face in the direction of the Kaaba while performing their obligatory daily prayers.

One of the five pillars of Islam requires every Muslim to perform the Hajj pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime.
Muslim faithful from about 160 countries converge on the Islamic city and other locations in western Saudi Arabia to complete the holy journey.

The pilgrimage, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, has been prone to disasters in the past, mainly from stampedes as pilgrims rushed to complete rituals and return home. Hundreds of pilgrims died in such a stampede in 2006.
Saudi authorities have since lavished vast sums to expand the main haj sites and improve Mecca's transportation system, in an effort to prevent more disasters.

Strong winds before crane collapses on Grand Mosque of Mecca

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Struck before evening prayers: Pictures emerging on social media show the scale of casualties with bodies strewn across the mosque floor

Moment of Grand Mosque of Mecca crane crash caught on camera

Security services often ring Islam's sacred city with checkpoints and other measures to prevent people arriving for the pilgrimage without authorization.

Those procedures, aimed at reducing crowd pressure which can lead to stampedes, fires and other hazards, have been intensified in recent years as security threats grow throughout the Middle East.
Last year, the kingdom reduced the numbers permitted to perform haj for safety reasons because of construction work to enlarge the Grand Mosque.

Al Jazeera's Hasan Patel, reporting from Mecca, said witnesses told him that a crane fell on the third floor of the Grand Mosque around 5.45pm.

PREVIOUS MECCA TRAGEDIES

1987: 402 people killed and almost 650 wounded in clashes between Iranian pilgrims and Saudi authorites
1989: Two bombs kill one pilgrim and injure 16 others.
1990: 1,426 pilgrims killed in a stampede in an overcrowded pedestrian tunnel
1994: 270 pilgrims killed during a stampede at a stoning ritual
1997: More than 340 people killed and 1,500 injured when fire rips through a tented city
1998: 180 pilgrims trampled to death after several people fell off an overpass
2001: 35 people killed in a stampede
2004: Approximately 250 people were killed during a stampede at a stoning ceremony
2006: At least 350 pilgrims killed following a stampede at a stoning ceremony

Our correspondent said the mosque was packed, even though the incident happened shortly before the 6.30pm prayer.
'Dozens of ambulances are heading to the site. The authorities closed off the area shortly afterwards,' he said.
'This whole place is already a construction site. What made it worse is that around 5.30pm there was severe rain and it's just gushing down the road,' he said.

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Bloodied: Two men try to stem the flow of blood after being caught up in the crane collapse at Mecca
Trail of blood: A man soaked in blood sits on a stool in the mosque waiting for emergency workers to treat him

'I am surrounded by people who are grieving. The mood here is of sadness.'
Al Jazeera's Omar Al Saleh said bad weather was thought to be the cause of the accident - western Saudi Arabia has been hit by strong sand storms in the last few days.

Khaled Al-Maeena, editor at large at the Saudi Gazette in Jeddah, said the incident happened during a strong thunderstorm.
'The scene is of shock ... and people are wondering what happened,' he said.

'Many of the (Hajj pilgrims) go to Medina first. If this was one or two days before the actual Hajj ... I would have expected that the death toll and the injured and the casualties would have been much higher,' Al Maeena said.
Several cranes surround the mosque to support the ongoing expansion and other construction work that has transformed the area around the sanctuary.

Steep hills and low-rise traditional buildings that once surrounded the mosque have in recent years given way to shopping malls and luxury hotels - among them the world's third-tallest building.
The mosque stands at 3.84 million square feet and can hold up to 820,000 worshippers, but this latest renovation will increase it to 4.3 million square feet, allowing it to accommodate up to 2.2 million at a time.

Moment of impact: Video footage captured the moment the crane toppled over crashing into the mosque, where thousands were praying


http://mastakongo.com/english/images/Articles_photo/September2015/kaaba-crane-collapses1d.jpgThe crane fell into the east side of the mosque, with the top section of the structure crashing through the roof an on to the third floor
Call for support: Online activists created a hashtag on Twitter urging Mecca residents to donate blood at hospitals in the area

Wreaked havoc: The giant falling structure caused immense damage to the mosque as well as claiming at least 107 lives

View from the outside: The toppled crane leans on the Mosque, with the top section of the vehicle having crashed through the ceiling

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Fighting for his life: An injures man lies out on a makeshift stretcher, covered in blankets, while others hold his drip


Largest mosque in the world: Last year, the kingdom reduced the numbers permitted to perform haj for safety reasons because of construction work to enlarge the Grand Mosque

Expansion: The mosque stands at 3.84 million square feet and can hold up to 820,000 worshippers, but this latest renovation will increase it to 4.3 million square feet, allowing it to accommodate up to 2.2 million at a time

Weather warnings: Before today's accident, the country's Civil Defense had issued thunderstorm, heavy rain and wind warnings in the area

Hundreds injured: Men and women covered in bandages are pushed in wheelchairs towards ambulances

http://mastakongo.com/english/images/Articles_photo/September2015/kaaba-Walking_wounded_A_man_stands_in_shock_his_clothes_stained_with_blood.jpgScenes of devastation: Victims of the crane collapse are carried on stretchers or pushed on wheelchairs as the rain continues to lash down

Walking wounded: A man stands in shock, his clothes stained with blood, while a worse off victim is stretchered into an ambulance

The area inside the mosque where the crane crashed through the ceiling is cordoned off by workers

Devastation: The fallen crane lies on its side, leaning on the Grand Mosque as witnesses gather in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Desperate bid to save lives: Ambulances gather in the square outside the Grand Mosque as hundreds of injured of people are carried out

http://mastakongo.com/english/images/Articles_photo/September2015/kaaba-crane-collapses1i.jpgBodies of victims lie on the ground while injured people are attended to by emergency services

A injured man wrapped into a waterproof lies on the ground amid chaotic scenes in Mecca this evenings

Confusion and anguish: People stand in disbelief and crowd around emergency workers as loved ones are treated

Emergency response: The Saudi Civil Defense says search and rescue teams and medical workers from the Saudi Red Crescent are at the scene

Dozens killed: At least 154 people have been injured in the disaster and at least 65 people are dead

Smashed floor: A huge crater is visible in the polished tiles of the Great Mosque where part of the crane struck

Saudi emergency teams gather at the site of accident in the Grand Mosque of Saudi Arabia's holy Muslim city of Mecca

High winds: Extreme weather is believed to have been the cause of the accident, which claimed at least 65 lives this evening
Topic edited 1 times, last edit by RouTe, 12 September 2015, 1:54  

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