At least 8 Turks killed in pre-hajj tragedy

At least 8 Turks killed in pre-hajj tragedy

MECCA - Agence France-Presse
At least 8 Turks killed in pre-hajj tragedy

Muslim pilgrims gather in front the crane that collapsed the day before at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy Muslim city of Mecca on September 12, 2015. AFP photo

The number of Turkish nationals killed when a crane collapsed on Sept. 11 at a mosque in Mecca teeming with Muslim pilgrims has risen to eight, Turkish authorities said Sept. 13, while Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has vowed to find out what caused the incident.

According to Saudi authorities, a total of 107 people were killed and 238 people were wounded when a massive crane collapsed in Mecca’s Grand Mosque, which at the time had been full of worshippers performing the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

Mehmet Değer was reported by Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) as the eighth Turkish victim of the accident, state-run Anadolu Agency said.

The hajj, a pillar of the Muslim religion which last year drew about two million faithful, will take place despite tragedy on Sept. 11, Saudi authorities said as crowds returned to pray a day after the incident.

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims had already arrived in Mecca when the massive red and white crane toppled over during a thunderstorm.

“We will investigate all the reasons and afterwards declare the results to the citizens,” Salman said after visiting the site, one of Islam’s holiest.

Parts of the Grand Mosque remained sealed off yesterday around the wreckage of the crane, which also injured around 200 people when it crashed into a courtyard. But there was little mourning among pilgrims, who snapped pictures of the collapsed metal and continued with their prayers and rituals.

Indonesians and Indians were among those killed when the crane collapsed, while the injured included 21 Turks, Malaysians, Egyptians, Iranians, Afghans and Pakistanis.

“Suddenly, I heard thunder and then we heard a very loud noise. That was the sound of the crane falling,” Mohammed, a Moroccan pilgrim, told AFP.