Mecca: According to Press TV, many of those who survived the crush on September 24 in Mina, located outside Mecca, blame Saudi authorities’ mismanagement and the slow pace of rescue efforts for the deadly incident.
“It was quite obvious that there was mismanagement on the part of Hajj organizers. It is not logical to let people walk in opposite directions in the same corridor,” an African pilgrim said, referring to reports that the Saudi authorities had blocked a road to Jamarat, forcing the pilgrims who had completed the ritual to return on the same route.
“Saudi police and aid workers didn’t even look at us. Many were alive for four or five hours, but help came too little and they died,” an Iranian woman said.
Other survivors accused Saudi police of being selective in rescuing the pilgrims.
“I was weak and numb but could hear that they were asking about my nationality. I couldn’t even answer. I saw some dead Iranian pilgrims right before me and Saudi forces who were saying ‘Let them die if they are Iranians.’ There were five layers of bodies compiled on each other; some were alive among them,” said one.
“The pressure of the crowd was immense. I couldn’t breathe. I fell under people’s feet twice but my friends pulled me out. I saw death with my eyes,” a young Iranian said.
According to Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry, the death toll from the incident stands at nearly 770. However, Head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Saeed Ohadi says the disaster has killed around 2,000 pilgrims.
The incident, as well as a crane collapse earlier this month which killed more than 100 people, has called into question the capability of the Saudi authorities to manage the annual Hajj pilgrimage.