On September 11, 2015, two weeks before the beginning of the Hajj pilgrimage, a crane crashed through the roof of the Grand Mosque of Mecca and killed at least 107 of the worshippers inside. Additionally, around 238 people were injured. Though speculation places the blame on the recent heavy winds and rain as the cause, Saudi Arabian King Salman promised the hospitalized that he “will investigate all the reasons [for the collapse] and afterwards declare the results to the citizens.” At the time of the incident, the mosque – known for being the largest in the world – contained up to 800,000 worshippers from countries such as Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Egypt, and Pakistan.
Major renovation work is currently underway at the mosque, as it will soon see the arrival of an approximated 2 million people from all over the world come the Hajj pilgrimage. Even before the incident the renovations were the subject of much alarm, as the mosque contains many historic parts dating back 1,400 years, but also needs to prioritize healthy and safety considering the influx of population it will see in just a few weeks.
According to CNN, the accident will not keep worshippers from making the pilgrimage in the coming weeks. “My main concern is safety issues that arise with such a big crowd,” says one American prepping for the trip. “It’s a reminder to put my trust in God and that I can’t stop death if it’s my time whether I’m there or sleeping safely in bed.”