Death toll from Mecca crane collapse rises to 107
Four Turkish pilgrims among those killed, according to Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate

Saudi authorities on Friday night put the total death toll from a massive crane collapse in the city’s Grand Mosque -- which had been teeming with worshippers performing the annual Hajj pilgrimage -- at 107.

"The number has been raised to 107 deaths and 238 injuries,” Saudi civil defense authorities announced via Twitter.

On Friday night, mosque administrators attributed the fall of the crane to "severe storms and strong winds”, which, they said, had caused "a part of one of the cranes inside the mosque to collapse”.

According to Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate, four Turkish nationals were among those killed, while another 21 were injured.

Eleven of the latter have since been discharged from hospital, according to the directorate.

"We heard an extremely loud noise when the crane came down,” Kadir Dirli, a Turkish pilgrim who was at the scene at the time of the accident, told Anadolu Agency.

"I saw several injured people bleeding on the ground, while Saudi security forces rushed to cover the bodies of the dead,” he said.

Sheikh Khaled al-Feisal, the emir of Makkah, for his part, has since launched of a fact-finding committee tasked with investigating the exact causes of Friday’s deadly crane collapse.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Health Ministry officials said 70 out of the 107 dead pilgrims were identified and would be laid to rest at Muaysim Cemetery.

They said autopsy and identification efforts were underway at Muaysim Hospital's morgue.

The officials added that the rest of the pilgrims would be identified through the fingerprints that were taken when they entered the country.

At the time of the accident, the mosque -- which is currently undergoing a massive expansion -- was packed with Muslim worshippers performing the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

On Saturday, authorities began repairing the damage, with maintenance teams removing the collapsed crane and replacing broken marble floors in the mosque’s circumambulation area.

The authorities also stopped pilgrims from entering the mosque’s second and third floors to perform dawn prayers early Saturday morning.

The crane that collapsed Friday night -- which was being used in the expansion of the mosque’s circumambulation area -- was reportedly one of the biggest in the region.

Last Modified: 2015-09-13 13:17:57
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