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Makkah Grand Mosque crane tragedy followed heaviest rain in decades
Sunday September 13, 2015 0:03 AM, Agencies

The holy city of Makkah witnessed one of the heaviest rain and flash floods in decades on Friday. The thunderous rain that was accompanied by strong winds and lightning, lashed the entire holy city and its suburbs.

The rain brought down the temperatures significantly, while several vehicles were washed away and trees uprooted on major roads and several districts, causing closure of some roads and obstructing vehicular movement to a great extent.

The teams of Civil Defense, security patrol, traffic police, road security forces, as well as municipal workers have been deployed to remove the obstacles and restore traffic movement in water-clogged streets.

The Makkah Mayoralty mobilized all its human resources and equipment to remove the debris and hazards caused by the rainfall.

Cleaning and maintenance workers have also swung into action to restore normalcy in the city.

Over 800 equipment of various sizes, were put immediately into action to clear the debris.

Amid heavy rains and thunderstorm in the holy city, a crane collapsed inside the Makkah Grand Mosque leaving some 107 Hajis dead and over 230 injured.

The cranes are currently used for the Haram expansion program underway at the Grand Mosque. It is believed one of them collapsed in high winds, Al Arabiya reported.

The crane fell down because of the bad weather, which was working on the expansion operations at the Grand Mosque, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to BBC, images from the scene appeared to show part of a huge red crane had crashed through the mosque roof.

An Al Jazeera correspondent in Makkah said witnesses told him that a crane fell on the third floor of the mosque around 5.45 p.m. (local time) when it was packed even though the prayers were to begin at 6.30 p.m. Rain had also lashed the area.

Pictures circulating on social media showed pilgrims in bloodied robes and masses of debris from a part of the crane that seemed to have crashed through a ceiling.

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