Dozens killed after crane collapses on Grand Mosque in Mecca

Update at 8.20pm:

At least 87 people have been killed and more than 184 injured after a crane collapsed on the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, according to Saudi Arabia’s civil defence authority.

The accident happened as pilgrims are streaming into Islam’s holiest city for the annual hajj pilgrimage later this month.

Videos and photos posted by social media users showed a grisly scene, with police and onlookers attending to bloodied bodies on the polished mosque floors.

The crane's collapse came during a heavy rainstorm.

The number of people injured in the disaster is 184, officials said.

A photo posted online by the Saudi officials showed police and workers in hard hats inspecting a pile of collapsed concrete slabs inside a part of the sprawling, ornately decorated mosque.

The Grand Mosque and the cube-shaped Kaaba within it draw Muslims from around the world throughout the year, though numbers increase significantly in the run-up to the hajj.

Performing the pilgrimage once during one’s lifetime is a duty for all able-bodied Muslims.

Several cranes surround the mosque to support an ongoing expansion and other construction work that has transformed the area around the sanctuary.

Steep hills and low-rise traditional buildings that once surrounded the mosque have in recent years given way to shopping centres and luxury hotels – among them the world’s third-tallest building.

Television footage from inside the mosque compound said to be from the aftermath of the accident showed the floor strewn with rubble and what appear to be pools of blood.

Another video on Twitter captured the apparent moment of the crane’s collapse with a loud boom, screams and confusion.

Update at 6.20pm:

At least 62 people have been killed after a crane collapsed on the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, according to Saudi Arabia’s civil defence authority.

The authority announced the collapse and the casualty numbers on its official Twitter account.

It says nearly 30 others were injured in the crane collapse.

Mecca is Islam’s holiest site.

Pilgrims from around the world have been converging on the city and the mosque for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which takes place this month.

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