RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi authorities have raised the death toll in a construction crane collapse at Mecca’s Grand Mosque to 107.
The country’s civil defense authority tweeted early Saturday that 238 people were injured in Friday’s accident, which occurred ahead of the start of the annual hajj pilgrimage later this month.
Mecca is Islam’s holiest site.
Videos and photos posted by social media users showed a grisly scene, with police and onlookers attending to bloodied bodies on the polished mosque floors. Saudi Arabia’s civil defense authority provided a series of rising casualty numbers on its official Twitter account.
A photo posted online by the authority showed police and workers in hardhats inspecting a pile of collapsed concrete slabs inside a part of the sprawling, ornately decorated mosque. Authorities did not provide details on the victims’ nationalities, but it was likely that the tragedy will touch several countries.
The Grand Mosque and the cube-shaped Kaaba within it draw Muslims of all types from around the world throughout the year, though numbers increase significantly in the run-up to the hajj. Performing the pilgrimage once during one’s lifetime is a duty for all able-bodied adult Muslims.
Pan-satellite Al-Jazeera Television broadcast footage from inside the mosque compound said to be from the aftermath of the accident, showing the floor strewn with rubble and what appear to be pools of blood.
Another video, on a Twitter posting, captured the apparent moment of the crane’s collapse during a heavy rainstorm, with a loud boom, screams and confusion.
A man points at a large crane that collapsed inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on Sept. 11, 2015. EPA
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