Saudi crown prince orders probe into deadly Haj stampede
September 24 2015 07:11 PM
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Saudi emergency personnel and Haj pilgrims load a wounded person into an ambulance at the site of a stampede in Mina, on Thursday.

AFP/Mina

Saudi Arabia's crown prince ordered an investigation into the stampede at the Haj pilgrimage that left more than 700 dead on Thursday, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who chairs the Saudi Haj committee, ordered the probe during a meeting with senior officials responsible for the pilgrimage in Mina, where the stampede took place.

The findings of the investigation will be submitted to King Salman, "who will take appropriate measures" in response, the agency added.

Thursday's tragedy comes on the heels of another one, in which 108 people were killed when a massive construction crane collapsed on Mecca's Grand Mosque on September 11 as thousands were gathering for the Haj.

At the time, Nayef said the accident would not affect this year's pilgrimage and that the safety of pilgrims was a "priority".

Earlier Thursday, Health Minister Khaled al-Faleh promised that there would be a rapid and transparent investigation of the stampede, which he blamed on undisciplined pilgrims not following instructions.

Al-Falih was quoted by El-Ekhbariya television as saying "many pilgrims move without respecting the timetables" established by authorities, which was the "principal reason for this type of accident."

"If the pilgrims had followed instructions, this type of accident could have been avoided."

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