MECCA, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 11 (UPI) — A crane collapsed Friday through the roof of the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia — killing nearly 100 people who visited as part of an annual pilgrimage for the Islamic faith.
The cause of the crane’s collapse was not immediately determined, but a Saudi official said strong winds and rains in Mecca were to blame. Gusts in the area were measured at about 50 miles per hour, an official said.
Millions of Muslims travel to Mecca each year during Hajj, which will be held in late September this year. Many worshippers were already in the city to visit the Grand Mosque for the pilgrimage.
The Grand Mosque was undergoing a major expansion to add 4.3 million square feet of space. When the expansion is complete, it will be able to hold more than 2 million people at one time.