Updated 9:15 p.m. EDT: The death toll in Friday's crane collapse reached at least 107 people, Saudi Arabia's Civil Defence authority said, as Reuters reported. At least 238 people were wounded, Saudi Arabia's Civil Defence body said.
"All those who were wounded and the dead have been taken to hospital. There are no casualties left at the location," Gen. Suleiman al-Amr, director general of the Civil Defence Authority, told al-Ikhbariya television, Reuters reported.
Updated 2:30 p.m. EDT: The death toll in Mecca climbed to at least 87 people after a crane collapsed Friday in the Muslim holy city, Saudi government officials have confirmed.
Updated 2 p.m. EDT: At least 65 people were killed after a crane collapsed Friday in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, officials in Saudi Arabia said. Some 154 others were reportedly injured when the crane collapsed on the Grand Mosque, Saudi Arabian officials said, CNN reported. The mosque – called Masjid al-Haram in Arabic – surrounds Islam’s holiest site.
Original Story: At least 65 people were killed after a crane collapsed Friday in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, officials in Saudi Arabia said. At least 80 people were injured when the crane collapsed on the Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site.
Images circulating on social media showed a massive red crane collapsed through the mosque’s ceiling. Numerous bodies could be seen on the ground. The pictures could not be independently verified.
Mecca is preparing for the hajj, an annual Muslim pilgrimage. Hundreds of thousands of people were expected to arrive to the city later this month. Construction has been underway for years as Saudi authorities have sought to expand the space to accommodate the massive numbers of people each year.
Saudi officials have sought to improve safety measures in recent years. The holy site has seen repeated incident due to large crowds, as a stampede in 2006 killed some 350 people. A building collapse the same year killed 76, and another crowd rush killed more than 200 people in 2004, the Guardian reported.
Officials have limited the number of pilgrims, as the country has seen more and more people applying to make the hajj each year. More than 3.1 million people arrived to the city in 2013. Parts of the main structures have been widened in order to accommodate the crowds.
Reconstruction work to enlarge the Grand Mosque has been ongoing for two years, and was expected to be completed before the hajj later this month, the Guardian reported.
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