On Thursday, at least four hundred and fifty three people were killed and over seven hundred injured in a stampede at the Hajj pilgrimage outside the holy city of Mecca.
Saudi Arabia’s civil defense directorate said after there was a “sudden rise” in the number of pilgrims traveling along a major road leading to the site of a stone throwing ritual a crush happened resulting in the stampede and the collapse of a large number of people.
Emergency personnel was immediately dispatched to protect pilgrims heading to the same area.
During Hajj, pilgrims pass through the a stone collection site before entering Mina where they carry out the “stoning of the devil,” a part of the holy event in which people throw pebbles against three walls.
The stampede occurred on the road where pilgrims collect their stones.
Update 1:54 pm
Authorities in Saudi Arabia said that at least seven hundred and seventeen pilgrims from around the world have been killed in the crush and another eight hundred and sixty three injured.
Officials said that this is the worst disaster to occur at the pilgrimage since July 1990 when one thousand four hundred and twenty six people suffocated in a tunnel near Mecca.