Two Indian Haj pilgrims killed, 19 injured in Makkah Grand Mosque accident (Intro Roundup)

Jeddah/New Delhi, Sep 12 (IANS) Two Indian Haj pilgrims, one from Kerala and the other from West Bengal, were among the 107 people killed in the crane accident at the Grand Mosque in the Saudi Arabian holy city of Makkah, while 19 Indians are among the injured, officials said on Saturday.

At least 238 people were wounded when a massive construction crane smashed into the part of the Grand Mosque where Haj pilgrims circle the Kaaba to pray.

“Regrettably we have been informed that two Indians have been killed in the unfortunate accident,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in a statement.

In a statement in the evening, the spokesperson said the injured toll had climbed to 19. In the morning, the figure of injured pilgrims was 15.

He also said none of the injured were in critical condition.

Swarup said the Indian mission’s helpline numbers have also been operational throughout the day attending to calls from family members. Doctors, paramedics and Arabic interpreters are deployed in all government hospitals to monitor the cases of Indian pilgrims admitted in these hospitals.

He said the Consul General and the Deputy Consul General have visited the pilgrims admitted in the hospitals, and met with the Saudi Assistant Health Minister Hamad Mohammed to ensure proper medical facilities to the pilgrims. The Haj Pilgrimage will continue as scheduled, Swarup said.

The two dead have been identified as Moniza Ahmed from West Bengal and Muameena Ismail from Kerala.

“The injured Indians are being treated in four hospitals in Jeddah. They are recovering,” Mohd Noor Rahman Sheikh, the deputy consul general of the Consulate General in Jeddah, Haj Wing, told IANS over phone.

“The injured are being taken good care of. We have a team of Indian doctors and paramedics who are working round the clock to take care of the injured, as well as Saudi doctors who are treating them,” Sheikh told IANS.

He said the injuries mostly comprised fractures, and no one among the injured is in critical condition.

President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have condoled the deaths.

Mukherjee said in a tweet: “Heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased due to crane crash in Mecca, prayers for speedy recovery of the injured.”

Modi said: “My thoughts & prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives in the crane crash in Mecca. I wish the injured a quick recovery.”

Vice President Hamid Ansari, condoling the deaths, said relief and rescue operations are underway and every effort will be made to render all possible aid to the injured and the bereaved families.

The mission has published its 24/7 helpline (00966125458000/00966125496000) and toll free number (8002477786 for pilgrims within the kingdom), the MEA statement said.

The Saudi Arabia’s General Directorate of Civil Defence blamed the accident on severe storms, according to its official Twitter.

At least 47 Pakistani pilgrims and 25 Bangladeshis are also reported to be among the injured.

The MEA gave out the names of the injured.

Mohd Rafique Sheikh, Yasmeen Bee Sheikh, Naushad Anjum Ansari (Maharashtra); Ghulam Sarwar (Punjab); Abdul Aziz, Abdul Majid Rahman, Jaleelur Rahman (Madhya Pradesh); Anwar Neyaz, Akbarun, Azaz Noor Khan (Uttar Pradesh); Mujeeb Shaik, Safara Bee, Mohammed Yonus (Telangana); Abdul Salam Osmani (Assam); Farhana Parween (Bihar); Mohd Hasan Ali, S.K. Liyakat Hossain (West Bengal); Sabira Begum Ansari, Tawassul Husain Ansari (Delhi).

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