Life -- and the hajj -- must go on.
Despite a horrific accident Friday in which an enormous construction crane fell on Mecca’s Grand Mosque, killing more than 100 people and injuring over 230, Saudi Arabian officials say the holy pilgrimage will resume in the next week or so.
“It definitely will not affect the hajj this season, and the affected part will probably be fixed in a few days,” a Saudi Arabian official, who declined to be identified, told the Guardian on Saturday.
“Hajj will go on, for sure," the official added.
The cause behind Friday’s crane disaster are still unclear.
The head of Saudi’s civil defense authority, Suleiman al-Amr, said “high winds” during a storm caused the crash. Regardless, Saudi Prince Khaled al-Faisal, the governor of the Mecca region, ordered an investigation into the incident Friday and visited the region Saturday.
ArabNews.com reports that two separate committees have been set up to investigate the disaster.
On Saturday, the king of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, visited the site to meet with officials, victims’ families and those who were injured. "We will investigate all the reasons and afterwards declare the results to the citizens," he said.
Videos and pictures posted online to social media reveal a chaotic and grisly scene, with hundreds of people shrieking during the crane's fall and its bloody aftermath.
Om Salma, a Moroccan pilgrim visiting Mecca who was not injured in the crash, told Agence France-Presse, "Our phones have not stopped ringing since yesterday with relatives calling to check on us."
The hajj is an annual five-day ritual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, expected to be carried out at least once in the life of every Muslim. This year, it was scheduled to begin Sept 22.
In 2014, over 2 million people participated in the hajj. It’s unclear at this point how many people will continue with their plans to make the journey this year.