A bus carrying pilgrims to Mecca collided with a bridge and caught fire resulting in the death of 20 people while two dozen received injuries.
State media reported that the event in the southern province of Asir showed ongoing difficulties in safely conveying pilgrims to the holiest cities in Islam, Mecca, and Medina.
It took place just months before millions of Muslims were anticipated to travel for the yearly hajj pilgrimage, during the first week of Ramadan, a major time for Umrah pilgrimages.
“According to preliminary information we have now received, the number of deaths in this accident reached 20, and the total number of injuries was approximately 29,” the state-affiliated Al-Ekhbariya channel reported.
Although it claimed the fatalities were of various nationalities.
While the private publication Okaz said the accident was caused by brake problems, the channel stated only that the bus experienced “car difficulty” without providing any details.
The vehicle “then collided with a bridge, overturned, and caught fire”.
Reports added that transporting pilgrims across the holy sites of Saudi Arabia is a dangerous duty, especially during the hajj when roads may be hectic and buses can cause endless traffic jams.