Sixty-five (65) people are reported dead in Saudi Arabia after a Mecca crane collapse on the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, the Saudi Arabian government has said. More than 150 people were injured in the accident, the country's civil defence authority said on Twitter.
It is not known what caused the accident, but images from the scene showed part of a huge red crane had crashed
through the mosque's roof. Mecca is currently preparing for the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to arrive in the Saudi city from all over the world later this month.
Saudi authorities began a major expansion of the site last year to cope with ever-growing numbers of worshippers.
The crane that collapsed on Friday was part of the construction work taking place at the site. Reports suggested the crane fell during high winds. The Arabian Peninsula has been hit by strong sandstorms over the past week.
A video posted on YouTube, which could not be independently verified, appeared to record the moment the crane fell, with a loud crash heard in the background followed by panic and shouting. Images circulating on Twitter appeared to show numerous bodies and blood on the floor of the mosque.
The mosque is Islam's most sacred site and the destination for millions of Muslims undertaking the Hajj pilgrimage every year. At the heart of the mosque, the oldest parts of which date to
the 16th century, is the Kaaba, a black cube-shaped building which Muslims all over the world face when they pray.
Islam requires that every Muslim capable of doing so performs a pilgrimage to the site at least once in their lifetime. Once at the mosque, pilgrims perform "tawaf" - walking seven times around the Kaaba in a counter-clockwise direction.
Meanwhile, the hajj board of Ghana has assured relations of all Ghanaian pilgrims that the unfortunate accident in the Grand Mosque in Makkah has not affected any Ghanaian citizen.
So far 9 flights of about 450 passengers each have since departed the Kotoka International Airport of the country to perform the annual religious pilgrimage in the Kingdom of Saudi.