Over 700 Die During Stampede Amid History of Tragedies at Mecca

Lines continued to flow in Mecca for the annual Hajj, despite the recent stampede which claimed the lives of over 700 pilgrims. (BBC World News)

Lines continued to flow in Mecca for the annual Hajj, despite the recent stampede which claimed the lives of over 700 pilgrims. (BBC World News)

Over 700 Die During Stampede Amid History of Tragedies at Mecca

(Saudi Arabia)

Over 700 people have been declared dead following a stampede during the Islamic pilgrimage of Hajj to Mecca, yesterday, around 7:00 PM GMT.

Over two million pilgrims were lined up to perform the final rite of throwing stones at a pillar representing the Devil during the celebration, when the incident occurred.

The lines stretched across a valley, where witnesses observed the two lines converging on one another approximately 3 miles away from Mecca.

Temperatures we said to have been as high as 114 degrees Fahrenheit during the event.

This comes on the heels over yet another disaster in Mecca around two weeks ago.

Crane Collapse

At least 118 people were killed two weeks ago following the collapse of a crane in Mecca’s Grand Mosque, with reports of at least 394 injured, according to Saudi Director of Civil Defense.

The accident is thought to have been caused by strong windstorms reported earlier this month, with winds uprooting trees attached to cranes in the area.

With the accident occurring just weeks ahead of the historically disaster-ridden pilgrimage, the country attempted to provide extra countermeasures in a failed attempt to prevent the deaths which occurred this year.

New security checkpoints were said to have been set up, as well as a new transportation put in place for those seeking to attend the Hajj pilgrimage during the time of the crane collapse. Still, this wasn’t enough to prevent this year’s stampede and the natural disasters which no one could have predicted prior to the event.

The Saudi government will have its hands full between the commission opened for the crane collapse accident as well as the subsequent stampede this year. Saudi government officials have already been criticized by neighboring Iran, citing “incompetence,” with a call to “take responsibility,” for these continued deaths.

Prior Deaths

In 2006, another stampede during Hajj claimed the lives of over 360 people near the Jamarat Bridge in Mina.

Another disaster struck in 1997 when fires fueled by strong winds in the Mina tent city swept through, killing another 340.

In 1994, 270 were killed during the same ritual of ‘stoning the Devil,’ which just claimed the lives of over 700.

Similarly, in 1990, over 1,400 were killed in a tunnel stampede.

In 1987 an anti-US demonstration performed by Iranian pilgrims claimed the lives of 402 by Saudi security forces.

Pope Francis offered condolences during his US visit at St. Patrick’s Cathedral upon news of the devastating event.
“I unite myself with you all in prayer to God, our father, all powerful and merciful.”

What are your thoughts on the recent tragedies to strike during and around Hajj? Join in the discussion. Comment, share on Facebook and find us on Twitter, hashtag #DMTalk.

Staff Writer

Leo Ashcraft

A retired broadcast engineer, talk show host, news reporter - I have done everything there is to do in the radio broadcast business. I worked a year in television. I left that as my true passion has always been radio - plus I got tired of hearing - you have a face for radio.. I hope you enjoy my articles! Be sure to share them excessively on facebook - like our page and bug your friends with invites!

You may also like...

Leave a Reply