On 2 July 1990, an incident occurred during the Hajj in which 1,426 people were suffocated and trampled to death in a tunnel near Mecca. Until the 2015 Mina stampede, this incident had the highest death toll of any Hajj tragedy in modern times.
|1990 Hajj disaster|
|Date||2 July 1990|
|Location||Mina, Mecca, Saudi Arabia|
The incident occurred inside a 550 meter (600 yard) long and 10 meter (35 foot) wide pedestrian tunnel (Al-Ma'aisim tunnel) leading out from Mecca towards Mina and the Plains of Arafat. The tunnel had been worked on as part of a $15 billion project around Mecca's holy sites started two years earlier by the Saudi government.
While pilgrims were traveling to perform the Stoning of the Devil ritual at 10am that morning, the disaster started when a pedestrian bridge railing was bent, causing seven people to fall off a bridge and onto people exiting the tunnel. The tunnel's capacity of 1,000 soon filled with up to 5,000 people. With outside temperatures of 44 °C / 112 °F, a failure of the tunnel's ventilation system was also blamed for many of the deaths. Some witnesses claimed they believed a demonstration was occurring, others reported that the power to the tunnel was cut. Saudi officials concluded that crowd hysteria occurring from the falling pilgrims was the cause.
Many who died were of Malaysian, Indonesian and Pakistani origin. According to one Malaysian account, 80 percent of the deaths occurred outside the tunnel, and 20 percent (about 285) were inside.
Immediately after the event King Fahd stated that the event was "God's will, which is above everything", adding that "had they not died there, they would have died elsewhere and at the same predestined moment." About 680 of those who died were Indonesians, and Indonesian officials criticized the Saudi government, saying it "cannot run from the responsibility for the tunnel disaster simply saying it was an act of God." Iran also expressed concerns after the incident, though not to the same level of their strong protests after a 1987 incident that led to the death of 400 Shia pilgrims, presumably because Iran was not a victim of the incident. Turkey also issued a brief complaint after the incident. Calls for an international investigation were rejected by the Saudis.
This is a list of accidents and disasters by death toll. It shows the number of fatalities associated with various explosions, structural fires, flood disasters, coal mine disasters, and other notable accidents. Purposeful disasters, such as terrorist attacks, are omitted; those events can be found at List of battles and other violent events by death toll.List of human stampedes
This is a list of notable human stampedes and crushes. Many such accidents are also in list of accidents and disasters by death toll.Stampede
A stampede is uncontrolled concerted running as an act of mass impulse among herd animals or a crowd of people in which the group collectively begins running, often in an attempt to escape a perceived threat.
Non-human species associated with stampede behavior include zebras, cattles, elephants, blue wildebeests, walruses, wild horses, and rhinoceroses.