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Over a hundred perished in crane collapse in Makkah

Reports said fifteen Indians, ten Malaysians, twenty-two Bangladeshis, fifteen Iranians, forty-two Indonesians, six Nigeri ans, and fifty-one Paki stanis were injured.

Eleven Pakistanis, eleven Indians and two Britons were among the dead.

In Lanao del Sur, Philippines, Ma ranaos having phone or online contacts with their relatives on hajj reported a couple of Filipinos died in the accident. The re ports had yet to be con firmed.

The accident has been cited as the deadli est crane collapse in modern history, with the previous most deadly inci dent being the collapse of a construction crane in New York City in 2008, killing seven peo ple.

The Saudi Civil De fence authority said the crane collapsed through the ceiling of the mosque during strong winds creat ed by a powerful storm.

It said the collapse killed at least 118 people, injured 394 and trapped many pilgrims under the debris.

The incident reportedly occurred shortly before 5:20 p.m. on Friday, one of the busiest times of the week.

The crane fell into the east side of the mosque, with its boom crashing through the roof. One wit ness reported that the crane fell on the third floor above Al-Safa and Al-Marwah at 5:45 p.m. local time.

There were strong sand storms in the region over the preceding week.

The authority said an hour before the disaster that Mecca was experiencing medium to heavy rains. There were also reports of winds of more than 40 kilometres per hour (25 mph).

However, the exact cause of the crane collapse was not confirmed.

Following the accident the governor of Mecca, Prince Khaled Al Faisal, ordered an investigation into the incident. Search and rescue teams and medical workers from the Saudi Red Crescent were sent to the site.

After visiting the site on 13 September, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud vowed that the accident will be investigated and the results will be made public.

Pictures and video circulating on social media showed many dead and wounded amidst severe damage to the building.

After receiving the report on the investigation into the incident, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman ordered on September 15, only four days after the incident, that top officials of the Saudi Binladin Group be banned from traveling outside the kingdom and the group is also suspended from taking new projects.

The report pinned the blame for the accident partially on the construction company. A royal court announcement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said the king was reviewing the report of the Accident Investigation Committee, which suggested negligence on the part of the Saudi Binladin Group, but concluded that it found an "absence of criminal suspicion".

The report said "the main reason for the accident is the strong winds while the crane was in a wrong position"

MAKKAH, Kingdom of Saudi Arabi, Sepember 17 — Meanwhile two people were injured in a fire that broke out in a room of an unnamed hotel in the city barely four days later that tragic crane fall.

Saudi Civil Defence teams evacuated 1,028 Asian pilgrims from an eight-floor hotel in Al Azizyiah neighbourhood in Makkah, after a fire broke out in a room, in the early hours of Wednesday.

Media spokesman for the civil defence forces in Hajj, Colonel Abdullah Al Orabi Al Harthy was quoted by the Saudi Press Agency as saying that Makkah civil defense operations received a report at 12.30am this morning about the incident and teams were immediately despatched to the incident site.

He further said that civil defence teams evacuated the hotel and saved two pilgrims who were injured in the incident.

Colonel Al Harthy pointed out that it was coordinated with the Ministry of Hajj to accommodate the pilgrims and provide them with suitable housing.

The agency also did not give the nationality of the pilgrims, nor say what caused the blaze.

More than one million faithful have already arrived in Makkah for this year's Hajj, which begins on Tuesday.

The Hajj is the world's biggest annual event. It is one of the five pillars of Islam, and every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it is expect to make the pilgrimage at least once.

Mas Yahya/The Ranao Star

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