Thursday morning, a huge stampede killed 717 people and injured more than 800 others during the last ritual of the Hajj pilgrimage. This happened on road 204 in Mina, which is located between camps for pilgrims outside the city of Mecca. During the last ritual of the Hajj season, pilgrims assemble to stone the devil in the tent city of Mina. According to a civil defence spokesman, 4000 workers and 220 ambulances were sent to help the injured pilgrims to four different hospitals in the region. This is the deadliest accident since 1990 when 1426 people died in a tunnel linking Mina and Mecca.
Footage that was posted by CNN Arabic shows how several bodies are lying across and on top of each other. There are only a few who seem to still be alive. A team of soldiers and emergency personnel are trying to save the injured pilgrims to the ambulances so they can be taken to the four closest hospitals in Mina. Besides these hospitals, two other medical centres were opened to help the injured.
This isn’t the first accident that happened this Hajj season, two weeks ago a massive crane collapsed which killed 107 people and injured 230 others.
As a response to this year’s high death toll prince Mohamed bin Nayed ordered a probe into how this tragedy had occurred. The findings of this investigation will be sent to King Salman, who said that he will take the appropriate measures, reports the Saudi Press agency.
There are several explanations on how this could have happened, but most people say the Saudi government is the one to blame since they didn’t take the best measures to avoid this tragedy.