DUBAI — At least 65 people have been killed after a crane crashed in Makkah’s Grand Mosque on Friday, Saudi Arabia’s civil defense authority says.
It said nearly 30 people were injured as well. The Muslim annual Hajj pilgrimage is due later this month.
Al Jazeera’s Hasan Patel, reporting from Makkah, said witnesses told him that a crane fell on the third floor of the Grand Mosque around 5.45pm.
Al Jazeera correspondent said the mosque was packed, even though the incident happened shortly before the 6.30pm Friday 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.
“I am surrounded by people who are grieving. The mood here is of sadness.”
Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims are expected to visit Makkah for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which starts later this month.