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Scores killed in crane collapse in Mecca Grand Mosque

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Saudi Civil Defence authority says that 87 killed and another 183 injured as crane falls in Grand Mosque.

At least 87 people have been killed and 183 others injured after a crane collapsed in Mecca’s Grand Mosque on Friday, Saudi Arabia’s civil defence authority says.

Al Jazeera’s Hasan Patel, reporting from Mecca, said witnesses told him that a crane fell on the third floor of the Grand Mosque around 5.45pm.

Our correspondent said the mosque was packed, even though the incident happened shortly before the 6.30pm prayer. “Dozens of ambulances are heading to the site. The authorities closed off the area shortly afterwards,” he said.

“This whole place is already a giant construction site. What made it worse is that around 5.30pm there was severe rain and it’s just gushing down the road,” he said.

“I am surrounded by people who are grieving. The mood here is of sadness.”

Al Jazeera’s Omar Al Saleh said bad weather was thought to be the cause of the collapse. Saudi Arabia has been hit by strong sand storms in the past few days. 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.

Mecca is Islam’s holiest site. Pilgrims from around the world have been converging on the city and the mosque for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which starts on September 21. (Al Jazeera)