Saudi Arabia to probe deadly Hajj stampede

Saudi Arabia to probe deadly Hajj stampede

Saudi Arabia's King Salman has ordered a review of safety measures following a tragic stampede at the Hajj pilgrimage which claimed hundreds of lives near the holy city of Mecca.  

Saudi Arabia to probe deadly Hajj stampede

At least 719 people died after two crowds collided yesterday.  More than 800 other pilgrims were hurt in the incident.  

Officials expect the number of victims to rise.  Some 4 000 rescue workers are involved in the emergency operation. 

Middle East expert Sajjad Rizvi has been speaking to Sky News.

''In this process, what happens is everyone converges on the same space. I suspect that one of the things which probably happened was because there is really only one way in and one way out. The crowds tend to converge and it becomes the battle-like for the tunnel,'' he said.

The stampede is being described as the worst disaster to strike the pilgrimage in 25 years.


Saudi Arabia's Health Minister Khalid al-Falih has been speaking to Sky News about the tragedy.

''The accident as most know was a stampede caused by overcrowding and also by some of the pilgrims not following the movement instructions of the security and the hajj ministry. However, this is God's will,'' he said.

Our Department of International Relations says it is still waiting for information on South African citizens taking part in the Hajj.  

Acting President Cyril Ramaphosa has sent his condolences to the families and countries of the victims.  He says for South Africans the stampede was particularly tragic given its coincidence with Heritage Day.

(Photo: Screengrab)

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