DUBAI — According to latest media reports, 11 Indian and 11 Pakistani pilgrims are reported to have died in the Makkah crane crash on Friday.
The Indian ministry of external affairs spokesman Vikas Swarup on Sunday tweeted confirming the death of nine more Indians in Friday’s Grand Mosque crane collapse incident in Makkah. With the MEA’s confirmation the Indian death toll has risen to 11. Meanwhile, two pilgrims of Andhra Pradesh who were reported missing after the Makkah crane crash incident, died at the Mina Hospital in Saudi Arabia.
The two deceased were identified as 38-year-old Mohammed Abdul Khader and 32-year-old Fatima Bee of the Krishna district. The ministry of external affairs (MEA) on Saturday said that two Indians were killed and 15 others injured when a crane crashed into the Grand Mosque of Saudi Arabia in Makkah on Friday.
Rejecting a Saudi-owned pan-Arab television channel’s report claiming 15 Pakistanis were among the dead, Foreign Office spokesperson Qazi Khalullah said, “Six Pakistanis were among the dead in Grand Mosque crane tragedy.”
However, during another visit to Mortuary in Mecca by the Pakistan Embassy team headed by the ambassador, five additional bodies were identified.
Accordingly, the total number of Pakistanis martyred in the crane incident in Makkah is now 11
A team of Pakistani Embassy personnel in Riyadh headed by the ambassador visited a mortuary in Makkah last night. “Based on documentary evidence available and identification of bodies by relatives, martyrdom of six Pakistanis has been confirmed,” the spokesperson added.
Earlier, Pakistan’s Foreign Office and Ministry of Religious Affairs said no Pakistani pilgrim was killed while the two ministries also differed on the number of Pakistani nationals injured in the accident.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman vowed on Saturday to find out what caused a crane collapse that killed 107 people at Makkah’s Grand Mosque ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage.
The Haj, a pillar of Islam which last year drew about two million faithful, will take place despite Friday’s tragedy, Saudi authorities said as crowds returned to pray a day after the incident.
Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims had already arrived in Makkah when the massive red and white crane toppled over during a Friday 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 on Saturday around the wreckage of the crane, which also injured around 200 people when it crashed into a courtyard.