World / Middle East

Saudi King promises to find cause of crane tragedy

By Agencies in Mecca and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (China Daily) Updated: 2015-09-14 07:59

Saudi King promises to find cause of crane tragedy

Saudi King Salman bin Abdullaziz (C) holds the hand of an injured pilgrim at a hospital during a tour of the site where a crane fell inside the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy Muslim city of Mecca on Sept 12, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

Saudi Arabia's King Salman vowed on Saturday to find out what caused a crane collapse that killed 107 people at Mecca's Grand Mosque ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage.

The hajj, a pillar of the Muslim religion which last year drew about 2 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 Mecca when the massive red and white crane toppled over during a thunderstorm on Friday.

"We will investigate all the reasons and afterward 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.

But there was little mourning among pilgrims, who snapped pictures of the collapsed metal and continued with their prayers and rituals.

"I wish I had died in the accident, as it happened at a holy hour and in a holy place," Egyptian pilgrim Mohammed Ibrahim said.

Om Salma, a Moroccan pilgrim, said: "Our phones have not stopped ringing since yesterday with relatives calling to check on us."

Indonesians and Indians were among those killed when the crane collapsed, while the injured included Malaysians, Egyptians, Iranians, Turks, Afghans and Pakistanis.

Salman expressed his condolences to the families of the dead, and then visited a local hospital "to check on the health of the injured", the official Saudi Press Agency said.

AFP - Xinhua

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