Fri Sep 25, 2015 6:40AM
An Iranian survivor of the recent deadly crush outside the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia details the ordeal to Press TV on Friday, September 25, 2015.
An Iranian survivor of the recent deadly crush outside the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia details the ordeal to Press TV on Friday, September 25, 2015.
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An Iranian pilgrim who survived the recent crush outside the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia has blasted Saudi officials for their slow and inadequate response to the emergency situation.

“It took the rescue workers two hours or more to arrive at the scene,” he told Press TV on Friday, adding, “The rescue workers, who were just a few, started collecting dead bodies instead of taking care of the injured.”

In the meantime, “the people themselves, mostly Iranians, helped each other,” the survivor said.

“I mean there was nobody to help us. A number of Iranian pilgrims climbed up the fence and threw water bottles for others. Some people on the ground attended to those who were injured, the children, and the elderly. We repeated doing these things for two hours until they (first responders) arrived,” he said.

The incident occurred in Mina, near Mecca, at 9 am local time (0600 GMT) on Thursday after two large masses of pilgrims fused together.

Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization says the tragic incident claimed the lives of more than 1,300 people, including 131 Iranians. Saudi officials, however, put the death toll at 717.

The bodies of the victims of the crush in Mina lie on the ground, September 24, 2015. (Photo by AFP)

 

Saudi Arabia has come under mounting criticism following the catastrophe.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has declared three days of national mourning following the disaster. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has also asked Riyadh to take responsibility for the disaster and fulfill its legal and Islamic obligations in this regard.

Arabic-language daily al-Diyar has said the presence of the convoy of Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, the son of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, in the middle of the population prompted a change in the direction of the movement of the pilgrims and the subsequent crush. It said Salman had sought to attend the huge gathering of pilgrims in Mina.