Pilgrim bus crash kills 20

Pilgrim bus crash kills 20

A bus carrying pilgrims to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, burst into flames after a collision on a bridge on Monday March 27, killing 20 people and injuring around 30 others, according to Saudi state television.

The accident, which took place in the southern province of Asir, underlines the constant challenge of the safety of transporting pilgrims to Mecca and Medina, the two holiest cities in Islam.

It comes during the first week of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, when many Muslims perform the Umrah (minor pilgrimage) pilgrimage, and a few months before the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

The victims are of different nationalities

“According to preliminary information we received, the death toll in this accident reached 20, and the total number of injured was around 29.”, reported the state channel Al-Ekhbariya. The victims are from “different nationalities”according to the channel, which did not give further details.

Transporting pilgrims on the roads of Saudi Arabia can be perilous, especially during the Hajj, when endless traffic jams are created by buses full of worshippers. In October 2019, 35 foreigners were killed and four others injured in the collision between a bus and another heavy vehicle near Medina.

However, pilgrimages remain a crucial part of the tourism sector, which Saudi leaders rely on to diversify their fossil fuel-dependent economy.

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