World / Middle East

Three Chinese among the injured in Mecca crane collapse

By Cui Jia ( Updated: 2015-09-13 20:01

Three Chinese among the injured in Mecca crane collapse

A staff member from the Chinese pilgrimage delegation visits a Chinese Muslim at a hospital in Mecca on Sunday. Three Chinese were injured when a crane collapsed at the Grand Mosque on Friday, killing 107 people ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage. MA WEIZONG/XINHUA

Three Chinese Muslims were among the injured after a massive crane smashed into Mecca's Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia on Friday and killed at least 107 people ahead of the start of the annual hajj pilgrimage, the China Islamic Association said on Sunday.

Two people from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region were hit by falling objects during the accident. The other one from Gansu province was hurt because he slipped after witnessing the horror, said Ma Xiubang, a member of staff at the association which organizes the annual pilgrimage. All the injured are in stable condition.

"We can't tell how many Chinese Muslims were at the Grand Mosque when the accident happened because they all go to perform daily prayers by themselves," Ma said. The organizers of the Chinese pilgrimage delegation in Mecca, Islam's holiest city have advised Chinese Muslims to perform their daily prayers at the mosques near the buildings where they are staying. Local authorities also informed the delegation that the hajj pilgrimage will take place as normal, he said.

Joining Muslims around the world, all 14,500 Chinese Muslims have arrived in Mecca preparing for the annual pilgrimage expected to get underway later this month, said Yang Zhibo, deputy president of the association.

The Kaaba, the massive cube-shaped structure at the centre of the Grand Mosque has a major role in the hajj. A huge project has been under way to expand the area surrounding the Kaaba for almost three years now, allowing it to accommodate up to 2.2 million people at once from the current one million. The project is due to be completed at the end of this year, Yang said.

High winds and heavy rains were to blame for the collapse of the massive crane at the construction site. At least 238 people were injured, according to civil defense figures, Associated Press reported.

Three Chinese among the injured in Mecca crane collapse

An aerial view shows Muslim worshippers praying at the Grand mosque surrounded by construction cranes, in the holy city of Mecca in this July 14, 2015 file photo. [Photo/Agencies]

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