Pilgrims were unable to move forward as more people were coming from behind
The stampede at Mina as pilgrims were set for the symbolic stoning of the devil was attributed to a breakdown in the steady flow of the crowds.
According to the Saudi civil defence, the crush happened when pilgrims were unable to move forward at the crossing between Lane 204 and Lane 223 towards the Devil Stoning area, resulting in a massive stampede.
A spokesperson for the civil defence said the incident occurred at around 9 am.
Sources told Saudi news site Sabq that most of the pilgrims taken to the hospital at Mina were women and old people, and that many were suffering from asphyxiation and sun strokes.
“As we were walking towards Al Jamarat, the flow suddenly stopped with an apparent reason,” Mohammad, a pilgrim, told Sabq. “A few minutes later, a large group of people came from the back and pushed us, causing the stampede. Women started to cry and several old people fell on the ground. Only the intervention of the security and medical authorities saved us from a bigger tragedy,” said Mohammad who was still being treated for his injuries.
An Egyptian pilgrim said that she was resting in the area known as “Arab Avenue” after she became too tired to walk when she saw a large group of people coming towards her on their way to Al Jamarat.
“They were from different nationalities and when they came very close to me, they slowed down and could not move ahead,” she said. “When another large group came behind them, they were pushed forward, but could not move ahead. It was a stampede and I personally was hurt in the back,” she said.