Emir offers condolences to bereaved families; fire toll revised to 13
Prince Faisal Bin Salman, Emir of Madinah region, checks on the health of an injured female pilgrim receiving medical care at King Fahd Hospital in Madinah. She is the only injured person still at the hospital. All others have been discharged from the hospital after treatment. — SPA
Abdul Majeed Dawood
JEDDAH – Prince Faisal Bin Salman, Emir of Madinah region, offered condolences on Sunday to the families of those killed in a fire at a hotel in Madinah on Saturday.
He was received at the condolences venue at Dar Al-Shakereen Hotel by Egyptian Deputy Consul General Muhammad Burhan, several Egyptian consulate staff, representative of the Egyptian community in Madinah and several relatives of the dead.
Prince Faisal conveyed the condolences of King Abdullah, Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, and Prince Muqrin Bin Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Premier, adviser and special envoy of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.
The Emir also visited King Fahd Hospital in Madinah and checked on the health of one of the injured female pilgrims receiving medical care at the hospital. She is the only injured person still at the hospital. All others have been discharged from the hospital after treatment.
Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdel-Aty was quoted as saying by Ahram online on Sunday that nine Egyptians were among 13 pilgrims killed in the blaze.
Earlier, Saudi officials said the death toll from the hotel fire has fallen to 13. The governorate’s office had previously announced 15 deaths based on initial hospital reports.
At least 61 Egyptians, along with 136 others, were also injured when the fire broke out in Hotel Ishraq Al-Madinah where around 700 Umrah pilgrims were staying.
Media spokesman of the Directorate of Civil Defense in Madinah Colonel Khaled Mubarak Al-Juhani told Saudi Gazette that 11 of the dead pilgrims have been identified by their relatives.
One was Algerian, one a British citizen and nine were Egyptians, which included two children.
The remaining two are are still to be identified. All deaths were caused by asphyxiation.
Prince Faisal ordered accommodating all evacuated pilgrims in Al-Shakereen hotel near the Prophet’s Mosque.
The Commission of Inquiry began its work with the participation of forensic experts.
Recounting the horror, Jamal Abdul Latif, an Egyptian pilgrim, said he and his family were going down the stairs when the fire alarm started.
“There was smoke everywhere. Luckily, we were close to the first floor. That’s how we left unscathed,” he said.
Mahmoud Abdul Rahman, another Egyptian, said he and his group of 15 pilgrims had a narrow escape and no one sustained any major injuries.