65 feared dead as crane crashes into Mecca's Grand Mosque

Sep 11, 2015, 23:23 IST | Agencies

At least 65 people were killed and 80 injured when a construction crane crashed into the Grand Mosque of Saudi Arabia's holy Muslim city of Mecca today

New Delhi: Weeks before the Muslim annual Haj pilgrimage, a crane crashing into the Mecca Grand Mosque on Friday killed around 65 people and left 80 others injured, according Saudi Arabia's Civil Defence authority.

According to pictures circulating on social media, injured pilgrims were seen in bloodied robes and masses of debris from a part of the crane that seemed to have crashed through a ceiling.

According to BBC, images from the scene appeared to show part of a huge red crane had crashed through the mosque roof.

It was raining heavily at the time.

The incident occurred as hundreds of thousands of Muslims gather from all over the world for the annual Hajj pilgrimage set to begin later this month.

The Grand Mosque is usually at its most crowded on Fridays, the Muslim weekly day of prayer.

It houses the Kaaba -- the massive cube-shaped structure towards which Muslims worldwide pray.

A massive project is currently underway to increase the area of the mosque by 400,000 square metres (4.3 million square feet), allowing it to accommodate up to 2.2 million people at once.

The mosque is surrounded by a number of cranes

An Al Jazeera correspondent in Makkah said witnesses told him that a crane fell on the third floor of the mosque around 5.45 p.m. (local time) when it was packed even though the prayers were to begin at 6.30 p.m. Rain had also lashed the area.

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