At least 107 people have lost their lives and more than 230 people injured after a crane collapsed in the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
The huge red crane crashed into a part of the Grand Mosque – the largest in the world – that was filled with worshippers at the time. Emergency workers were quickly on the scene to deal with the high number of casualties.
The head of Saudi Arabia’s civil defence said strong winds and heavy rains had caused the collapse.
Currently preparing for the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage, the Saudi City is expected to host hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world later this month, precisely 10 days time.
The collapse happened at 17:23 local time (14:23 GMT), said Director-General of the Saudi Civil Defence Authority, Lt Sulayman Bin-Abdullah al-Amr.
It happened at a time when many worshippers were there for Friday prayers.
The toll for the dead and injured, tweeted by the Civil Defence Authority (in Arabic), is on the rise.
Shortly before the crash, the city had been hit by unusually high levels of rainfall and winds of up to 83kph (50mph), Lt Amr said.
A video posted on YouTube, which could not be independently verified, appeared to record the moment the crane fell, with a loud crash heard in the background followed by panic and shouting.
Images circulating on Twitter showed the floor of the mosque littered with numerous mangled bodies and blood.
Lt Amr said an investigation was being carried out to assess the damage, and the “extent of the safety of these sites”.