35 expat pilgrims die in bus crash near Madinah

Thirty-five expatriate Umrah pilgrims were burned to death in a grisly traffic accident on Hijrah Road near Madinah on Wednesday evening. Four people who sustained serious injuries were taken to hospital.

Prince Faisal Bin Salman, emir of Madinah, has instructed to provide the necessary medical care and facilities for the injured. The emir offered his deep condolences to the bereaved family members of the deceased and wished speedy recovery for the injured who have been admitted to the nearby Al-Hamna Health Complex and Madinah hospital.

Daifallah Al-Shalahi, director of the complex, told Okaz/Saudi Gazette that 34 people died on the scene while another succumbed to his injuries after being brought to hospital. The horrific accident occurred on Markaz Al-Akhal, 170 km from Madinah, when the bus, which was carrying 39 pilgrims from Riyadh, collided with a wheel loader while it was on its way from Madinah to Makkah. All the victims are of Asian and Arab nationalities.

“All the hospitals in Madinah region were put on emergency alert following the tragic incident. Among the five injured, one died at the complex while another three seriously injured were transferred later to Madinah hospital. The loader driver, an Arab national, is undergoing treatment at the complex, he said.

Madinah police spokesman said the concerned agencies have launched a probe into the accident. He said the security agencies and the Saudi Red Crescent Authority (SRCA) officials reached the scene of accident to deal with the situation immediately after receiving information about the tragedy. Khaled Al-Sahli, spokesman of SRCA in Madinah, said that 20 emergency units of SRCA and ambulance units of the Health Department participated in the rescue operation.

Source: Saudi Gazette