Saudi bus crash: 35 killed, four injured near Medina

A passenger bus carrying pilgrims crashed into a heavy vehicle loader near the city of Medina, officials said.

    Thirty-five people have been killed and four injured after a passenger bus collided with a truck in the Saudi province of Medina, a police spokesman said.

    The "private chartered bus", carrying 39 pilgrims from Asian and Arab countries, collided with a "heavy vehicle" in the town of al-Akhal on Wednesday, the spokesman was quoted by official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) as saying.

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    The agency said the crash happened around 7pm (16:00 GMT) on the road linking Mecca to the city of Medina.

    The injured have been transferred to Al-Hamna Hospital, SPA added, and authorities have launched an investigation.

    The accident comes after four British pilgrims were killed and 12 others injured in Saudi Arabia when their bus collided with a fuel tanker in April 2018.

    In January 2017, six Britons, including a two-month-old baby, were killed in a minibus on their way to Medina after making a pilgrimage to Mecca.

    In September 2015, a stampede killed up to 2,300 worshippers - including hundreds of Iranians - in the worst disaster ever to strike the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

    Earlier that month, 100 people were killed when a construction crane toppled into a courtyard of Mecca's Grand Mosque.

    Up until last month, Saudi Arabia only issued visas to Muslim pilgrims, foreign workers and recently to spectators at sporting or cultural events. However, tourists are now allowed to visit as part of a drive to prepare the biggest Arab economy for a post-oil era.

    SOURCE: News agencies