At least 101 people were killed and more than 180 injured when a crane crashed through the ceiling of the Grand Mosque of Mecca amid high winds and thunderstorms today.
Dramatic footage shows the moment the crane toppled in heavy rain, with another video capturing the chaos and confusion inside the building as people run for cover after the impact.
Photos posted on social media shows the polished tiled floor of the mosque covered in rubble, bodies and pools of blood, and people fleeing the area bleeding and covered in soot.
The tragic incident in Saudi Arabia occurred shortly before the 6:30pm Friday evening prayer session – one of the busiest times of the week – causing devastation to what is the largest mosque in the world.
The crane fell into the east side of the mosque, with the top section of the structure crashing into the roof, killing at least 87 people – with nine Indian citizens, 16 Pakistanis and 15 Iranians reportedly among the dead.
The governor of Mecca region, Prince Khaled al-Faisal, has ordered an investigation into the incident and was heading to the mosque, the official @makkahregion page on Twitter said.
Online activists created a hashtag on Twitter urging Mecca residents to donate blood at hospitals in the area.
The crane belongs to a German crane company operated by the Bin Laden family’s consortium, who are heading the expansion of the Holy Mosque.
Saudi BinLaden Group was founded by Osama’s Bin Laden’s billionaire father Mohammed and the sprawling construction conglomerate runs a large amount of major building contracts in the Sunni kingdom.