Hundreds killed in stampede at pilgrimage

MSNBC News Service:

Footage from the scene showed lines of bodies laid out on stretchers on the pavement and covered with sheets. Ahmed Mustafa, an Egyptian pilgrim, said he saw bodies taken away in refrigerator trucks.

An Egyptian pilgrim, Suad Abu Hamada, heard screaming and “saw people jumping over each other.

“The bodies were piled up. I couldn’t count them, they were too many,” he said.

State-run Saudi television Al-Ekhbariyah reported that most of the victims were from South Asia.

As is often the case, the death toll keeps climbing every time an update is released. Right now it stands at 345 killed and over 1,000 injured. Hopefully those numbers won’t climb, but I fear that they will.

This event, a symbolic stoning ritual, has been marred by death before. Two years ago, 244 were killed in a similar stampede. In 1990, it was 1,426. The Saudis have attempted to improve the traffic-flow at the site, but obviously it hasn’t been enough.