Saudi hajj stampede kills 717, King Salman orders safety review

This is the second disaster to hit Mecca in just a matter of two weeks!

After the dreadful collapse of a crane at the Grand Mosque on September 12, which killed more than a hundred people, Thursday came out with a rather new set of tragedy; 717 people died due to a stampede near the holy city of Mecca.

hajj stampede in Mina saud arabia 2015

According to reports, another 863 people were injured while the pilgrims were performing the last major rite of hajj in Mina.

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Mina is a valley that is about 5km (3 miles) from Mecca. As part of the hajj rites, pilgrims must visit the place to throw seven stones at the pillars called "Jamarat".

By far, "it is the deadliest incident to occur during the pilgrimage in 25 years.", BBC wrote.

Saudi King Salman had ordered a safety review in order to improve the level of organization and management of the pilgrims in the holy land.

Here's a quick view of the previous tragedies that happened during Hajj in Mecca, from 1987 to 2006:
2006 - 364 pilgrims died in a crush at foot of Jamarat Bridge in Mina

1997 - 340 pilgrims died when fire swept through Mina's tent city

1994 - 270 pilgrims died in a stampede during the stoning ritual

1990 - 1,426 pilgrims, mainly Asian, died in a stampede in an overcrowded tunnel leading to holy sites

1987 - 402 people died when security forces break up an anti-US demonstration by Iranian pilgrims
Accounts from people who witnessed the stampede

"I saw someone trip over someone in a wheelchair and several people tripping over him.. People were climbing over one another just to breathe." - Abdullah Lotfy, from Egypt

"Dead bodies stretch as far as my eyes can see." - Bashir Sa'ad Abdullahi (BBC's Abuja editor)

As per BBC's information, at least three Indonesians are among the dead.

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"This tragic incident is all the more distressing as it took place on the first day of the Holy Eid Al-Adha marking the end of the annual haj season," U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said.

Source: BBC, GMA News, CNN

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