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The project to expand the mosque was launched in 2011 by late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. Earlier in 2015, King Salman bin Abdulaziz added five construction projects as part of the mosque’s expansion aiming to accommodate more than 1.6 million worshipers.
The projects cover 1.47 million square meters and include the construction of 78 new gates at ground level, according to the official Saudi Press Agency. The project and is being carried out by the Saudi Binladin Group at an estimated cost of US$26.6 billion, according to local press.
Mecca crane collapse: 107 dead at Saudi Arabia's Grand Mosque
At least 107 people died and more than 230 people were injured when 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.
The head of Saudi Arabia's civil defence said strong winds and heavy rains had caused the collapse.
Mecca is currently preparing for the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to arrive in the Saudi city from all over the world later this month.
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), continued to rise throughout the evening.
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 what looked like numerous bodies and blood on the floor of the mosque.
Lt Amr said an investigation was being carried out to assess the damage, and the "extent of the safety of these sites".
originally posted by: Iconic
Mother nature's the one in charge, best not forget it, either.
Praying won't help you when you're working a crane in sustained high winds and lightning storms.
Damn shame. Could have been avoided.