About 107 people have died and more than 230 injured when a huge crane collapsed and crashed into the Grande Mosque in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
The collapse which has been attributed to strong winds and heavy rains, is said to have happened at 17:23 local time when Muslim worshippers had gathered in the world’s largest mosque for Friday prayers.
According to local authorities, the city had been hit by unusually high levels of rainfall and winds of up to 83kph, shortly before the fatal crash.
Mecca is preparing to welcome Muslims from around the world for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which begins in about 10 days’ time and hundreds of thousands of pilgrims are expected to arrive from all over the world later this month to perform the Hajj which is required of every capable Muslim at least once in their lifetime.
The site has been under major expansion since last year to allow it to accommodate up to 2.2 million people at once in order to prevent tragedies associated with the numbers trooping in every year.
Saudi Authorities were compelled to set a limit on the number of pilgrims after over three million people undertook the Hajj to Mecca in 2012 alone.
Large numbers of people have resulted in several tragedies over the years, including a stampede in 2006 that killed nearly 350 people.
Authorities have launched investigations into Friday’s crash to assess the damage, and the “extent of the safety of these sites”.