Sunday, April 22, 2018
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Four British people have died and 12 others are hurt after being involved in a coach crash while on pilgrimage to Mecca.
The Foreign Office has confirmed a number of Britons have died in a serious car crash in Saudi Arabia.
A Foreign Office (FCO) spokesman confirmed there were UK fatalities among the victims, but details were still emerging following the crash, which happened on Saturday.
The spokesman said: ‘We are supporting the British families of those who have died and those injured following a serious road traffic accident near the town of Al Khalas, Saudi Arabia.’
Al Khalas is a settlement roughly 30 miles north of the holy site of Mecca.
A travel company based in Blackburn said those killed were from Blackburn and Preston, in Lancashire, travelling from Mecca on an Umra pilgrimage.
Hashim Travel said the coach they were on was hit by a fuel tanker which then caught fire and set the bus alight.
The travel firm said relatives of those who have died – who it said were a man, a woman and a mother and son – had been informed.
It is understood that a young child is among the injured.
The Umra pilgrimage is on a smaller scale than the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
Although it includes some of the rituals of the Hajj, they are shortened and there are fewer of them. It is not obligatory and can take place at any time of the year.