Gruesome images of mangled and bloodied bodies of pilgrims went viral on social media on Friday evening, following a horrific accident in which a construction crane fell on the Grand Mosque in Makkah. The international Muslim community has expressed shock and horror at the scenes which unfolded in the holy city on Friday night, with Muslims in prayer and solidarity for the safety of all hujjaj. 107 lives have been claimed and 238 people were injured in the incident. The nationalities of the dead and the injured are still unknown.
Recently Makkah had been facing heavy rain and strong winds. According to authorities, the accident was a result of the inclement weather, which rapidly changed throughout Friday afternoon.
Health authorities have declared an emergency at all hospitals in Mecca and the residents of the city have been urged to donate blood.
South African friends and family members of the hujjaj fear for the safety of their loved ones as reports came in of those who had died in the accident and of the numerous other hujjaj who were injured.
“When we heard the reports that the crane had fallen in Makkah and people had been killed, we immediately attempted to make contact with my mother’s aunt and other family members,” said Fadwah Arnold, a resident from Mowbray.
“But when more reports came in and it was said that no South Africans were killed or injured, we were so grateful to Allah. Our sincere condolences to all those who have lost family members. ”
Razeeq Abrahams says he immediately contacted his parents to confirm their safety.
“The shock and the fear that overcomes you when you hear of something like this…its devastating. I was so scared for my parents. Shukr to Allah that they and the other hujjaj they are with are all okay.”
Last night social media was flooded with videos, images and posts detailing the collapsed crane and its gruesome aftermath. However, there has also been widespread calls for people not to post or share gory image, and to consider the dignity of the hujjaj who were killed or those injured.
People are also expressing their views on social media networks on how they feel about the crane accident. Trends on Twitter #PrayForMakkah and #CraneCrash are still dominating the discussions online.
@akhoosen: “Those who passed away yesterday are martyrs. In Makka on a Friday after asr, Allah Taala grants them jannatul firdous n family sabrun jameel.”
Public opinion has also shifted towards blaming the Saudi Government for not ensuring the safety of the hujjaj during the massive construction around Makkah.
@MuddiK : “All are praying for the victims of crane incident at Kaaba. Isn’t the Saudi Govt. responsible for negligence?!”
@AhmadBhumi : “Saudi government is responsible for the deaths of 100+ pilgrims. There’s a frickin crane hanging during a sandstorm!”
@ebrudogangh: “ Saudi Arabia is responsible for this crane accident and the death of innocent muslims because they should’ve left Mecca as it has been +++”
@islamicfreedom : “More than 107 #pilgrims have lost their lives in #mecca #cranecrash, May Allah give sabr to Their families, #ameen”
The Saudi Government has reported that they are investigating the crane crash. VOC (Amina Waggie)