A crane crash at the Grand Mosque in Mecca left as many as 65 dead and 80 injured on Friday, according to the Saudi Civil Defense Directorate. Strong winds caused the crash.
Rescue workers from the Civil Defense department and Saudi Red Crescent and Health Affairs are on the scene.
Because of Muslims’ annual pilgrimage to Mecca, which can bring as many as 3 million people to the holy city around this time of year, the mosque was particularly crowded on Friday. It is unknown how many people were inside at the time of the incident.
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Death toll is upped to 101, with at least 180 injured. It was during the busiest time of the week, just before Friday prayers.
According to the Daily Mail:
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.
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.
The crane fell into the east side of the mosque, with the top section of the structure crashing into the roof.