Seven British tourists have been killed in a minibus crash while they were making their way to Mecca. It is understood that five members of the same family, including a baby, from Manchester have died in the accident, along with two others, from Glasgow, who were in their 60s. The couple from Scotland have been named as Mohammed and Talat Aslam. They are reported to be parents with five children.
The baby, just two months old, is believed to be among those who died in the crash, while a further two children suffered injuries. One is understood to be in hospital in a critical condition. The bus was carrying a total of 12 passengers between Mecca and Medina. All of those killed were Muslim pilgrims were were visiting the holy city of Mecca. The driver has survived, although it is not yet known if he was injured.
The family’s trip was organised by Manchester based firm Haji Tours, who have issued a statement offering condolences to loved ones of those who have died. The company is busy helping family members in Britain to get flights and visas so they can travel to the scene of the accident, and so they can collect their loved ones’ bodies.
The trip was arranged for people who wanted to perform Umrah, a pilgrimage to Mecca. The road where the accident happened is notorious for high numbers of crashes. Last year, at least 19 Egyptians were killed and 22 injured when the bus they were travelling in turned over. Traffic chiefs said they believed the driver of that coach may have fallen asleep and veered off the road.
A spokesperson for the British Foreign Office said they were supporting the families of those who had died in the crash, along with those who had suffered injuries.