Earlier this month, a construction crane crashed through the roof of Mecca’s Grand Mosque, killing 107 people and wounding over 200 others. The horrific accident occurred during a sandstorm that brought high winds to the Gulf nation. Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz ordered the state to pay each of the victims’ families 1 million Saudi riyals ($267,000 USD) in compensation. Meanwhile, the construction firm in charge of an expansion project at the mosque has had its projects suspended.
The crane collapse -- which occurred just ten days before the annual Hajj -- is far from the first tragedy to befall Muslim worshipers during the annual pilgrimage. It’s also far from the most deadly. Over the past 40 years, a string of fires, stampedes, terror attacks, police clashes and bus crashes have claimed the lives of thousands of people.