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Saudi: Wind caused Grand Mosque crane collapse

Officials from the Kingdom confirmed "heavy rain and strong winds" caused the crane collapse at Mecca's Grand Mosque on Friday, 11 September

A crane collapsed at Grand Mosque on Friday, 11 September, 2015.
A crane collapsed at Grand Mosque on Friday, 11 September, 2015.

Saudi Arabian officials have confirmed strong winds were responsible for the crane which collapsed on Saudi Arabia's Grand Mosque on Friday, 11 September, 2015. 

"Heavy rain and strong winds of unusually high speed led to the uprooting of trees, the fall of panels and the collapse of the crane," General Suleiman al-Amr, director general of the Civil Defence Authority, told Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV on Saturday, 12 September, 2015.

According to Reuters, al-Amr said the number of deaths may increase.

The current toll of deaths stands at 107, while 238 people were injured.

Al-Amr said "many of the 238 people injured in the accident were only lightly wounded". 

Mecca's governor, Prince Khaled al-Faisal, has ordered an investigation into the incident, Al Arabiya said.

The Grand Mosque in Mecca is currently undergoing expansion and renovation works to increase its capacity for pilgrims. 

Reuters' report added the disaster was the latest in a series of deadly mishaps to hit the Hajj, one of the world's largest religious gatherings, after hundreds of pilgrims died in a stampede in 2006.

An unnamed Saudi official involved in organising the Hajj was quoted by Al Arabiya as saying the pilgrimage would go ahead as planned.

"The incident won't affect the haj pilgrimage this year and repairs to the damaged section (of the mosque) will begin within days," the official said, as per the report.  

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