By Ari Lopez Wei, Features Editor

A large red construction crane collapsed into part of the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, killing at least 107 people on Sept. 11. The crane crashed into the mosque from heavy winds and strong rains from a storm that was raging in the city. Saudi Arabia Civil Defense has conducted an investigation into the matter and report that over 238 people have also been injured. The storm was so strong that it had uprooted trees and broken windows all over Mecca. Inside the mosque, construction boards and debris were flying around as all the people inside were pushing each other trying to get outside.

The crane collapsed into the world’s largest mosque, Masjid al-Haram, which surrounds the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest place, came less than two weeks before the annual Hajj pilgrimage. The crane collapse, however, will not stop the Hajj pilgrimage, Saudi officials have said.

At the time of the collapse over 800,000 people were inside the mosque area. The mosque has been surrounded by 15 large cranes for nearly a year as work is being done to enlarge the mosque by 400,000 square meters to accommodate up to 2.2 million people.

According to an interview with Khaled Al-Maeena, editor at the Saudi Gazette in Jeddah by CNN, the collapse came during a lull in visitors at the Mosque. “Had it happened an hour later it would have been much worse,” he said. “Had it happened five hours earlier or four hours earlier, I think the death toll would have been more than a thousand.”

Among those killed include Indian, Egyptian, Indonesian and Iranian citizens. The Saudi government has not yet determined the numbers of deaths for the citizens of each country.

Irfan Al-Alawi from the Islamic Heritage Research Foundation told the BBC, “the entire area is like a salvage yard,” and that Saudi Arabia needs to rethink its health and safety strategy.