4 British pilgrims killed in Saudi Arabia bus crash

Riyadh: Four British pilgrims were killed and 12 injured in Saudi Arabia when their bus collided with a fuel tanker, officials said.

The crash happened on Saturday near the town of Al Khalas, a settlement 30 miles north of Mecca, officials were cited as saying by the Saudi Gazette on Sunday. The pilgrims were travelling from Mecca to Medina as part of an Umra pilgrimage.

The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in London said in a statement that it “was working with (Britain’s) Foreign Office to issue emergency visas immediately to both the relatives of the four pilgrims who died as well as to families of the 12 British pilgrims who were injured”.

There were 18 pilgrims in the bus and the injured were taken to a hospital in Mecca.

“My sincere sympathies and thoughts are with the families of the four British pilgrims who tragically died in a coach crash in the Kingdom on Saturday and for the pilgrims who were injured,” Saudi Ambassador to Britain Mohammed bin Nawaf tweeted.

A British Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are supporting the British families of those who have died and those injured.”

The pilgrims’ tour operator Hashim Travel, based in Blackburn, England, said the coach was hit by a fuel tanker which then caught fire and set the bus alight.