Saudi's Hajj stampede due to lack of crowd control

The stampede on Thursday in Mina may have been brought on by pilgrims' failure to follow crowd control directions, Saudi officials suggest

Mina, Saudi Arabia. [Image: Getty]
Mina, Saudi Arabia. [Image: Getty]

Saudi Arabia has suggested that the stampede in Mina, which reportedly claimed at least 700 lives on Thursday, 24 September, 2015, was caused by failure to follow crowd control rules by pilgrims.

According to Arabian Business, Saudi Health Minister Khalid al-Falih said an investigation would be conducted rapidly and a final toll of dead and wounded calculated. At least 863 pilgrims were injured.

"The investigations into the incident of the stampede that took place today in Mina, which was perhaps because some pilgrims moved without following instructions by the relevant authorities, will be fast and will be announced as has happened in other incidents," the statement said.

The stampede occurred at a time when pilgrims were practising Hajj rituals in the country. 

Falih said the injured were being transferred to hospitals in Makkah and if necessary to other parts of the country.

Saudi King Salman ordered a review of haj plans after the disaster, in which two big groups of pilgrims collided at a crossroads in Mina, a few km (miles) east of Makkah, on their way to performing the "stoning of the devil" ritual at Jamarat.

Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Mansour Turki was quoted in Saudi media on Friday, 25 September, 2015, as saying the security forces had immediately responded and begun to rescue those who fell in the crush.

On the same day, it was reported that King Salman has ordered a review of the Hajj plan in light of the disaster, which is being touted as the worst to strike the annual pilgrimage in 25 years. 

Unverified video posted on Twitter showed pilgrims and rescue workers trying to revive some victims.

The Hajj, the world's largest annual gathering of people, has been the scene of numerous deadly stampedes, fires and riots in the past, but their frequency has been greatly reduced in recent years as the government spent billions of dollars upgrading and expanding related infrastructure and crowd control technology.

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