At least 52 people were killed when a crane crashed in Mecca’s Grand Mosque on Friday, Saudi Arabia’s Civil Defense authority said on its Twitter account, an accident that came just weeks before the Muslim annual hajj pilgrimage.
The situation is still developing so the final count of the dead may increase.
Pictures circulating on social media showed pilgrims in bloodied robes and masses of debris from a part of the crane that seemed to have crashed through a ceiling.
Saudi authorities go to great lengths to be prepared for the millions of Muslim who converge on Mecca to preform the sacred pilgrimage.
Last year, the kingdom reduced the numbers permitted to perform hajj for safety reasons because of construction work to enlarge the Grand Mosque.