SINGAPORE - One Singaporean was killed and several others injured in a bus accident in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, while carrying out their minor pilgrimage (umrah).
According to the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), the bus carrying 31 passengers met with an accident in the early hours of March 20 (between 1pm and 1.30pm, Singapore time). Singapore is five hours ahead of Mecca.
Haji Mohammad Abu Bakar Osman, the 64-year-old director of Abu Bakar Travel Services - the family-run travel agency behind the trip - was killed in the crash. His wife Hajjah Fauziah Alias, 63, is warded in the intensive care unit of the King Faisal Hospital with two others.
Their son, Mr Salhan Abu Bakar, said her leg might be broken and her neck is injured, but she is conscious.
He said: "It's very hard to get into the area, so we don't know how long it's going to take us to get a visa and fly in." His sister, Ms Siti, later said the family expect to fly out today.
She added the pilgrims include Singaporeans and Malaysians who had arrived in Mecca on March 12 on a Scoot flight. They were to return to Singapore on March 25.
Muis said the injured have been sent to hospitals in Mecca and added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is helping those affected.
Muis expressed its deepest sympathies to all the pilgrims affected and said the Consul-General in Jeddah has visited the injured at the King Faisal Hospital, and the Singapore Consulate there will continue to provide the necessary support to the injured and their families, as well as to the next-of-kin of the deceased.
A spokesman for the Association of Muslim Travel Agents said 17 of the passengers have been discharged while 10 others are warded in another hospital.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong expressed his deepest sympathies to those involved in the accident in a Facebook post.
Minister in charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim said he was deeply saddened to hear of the bus accident. "My thoughts and prayers go out to all affected by this unfortunate incident," he wrote in a Facebook post.