UK

Saudi Arabia crash: Six Britons killed and four injured

Noshina and Khurshid Ahmed Image copyright Family Handout
Image caption Noshina and Khurshid Ahmed were among those who died in the crash, alongside their baby grandson

Six Britons have been killed in a road crash in Saudi Arabia, the Foreign Office says.

It is understood the dead, including a baby, were on a pilgrimage when their bus crashed after a tyre burst.

Four members of a family from Manchester and a couple from Glasgow are thought to have been killed in the accident on Wednesday.

The baby's mother was among four other UK tourists who were injured on the minibus, which had 12 people on board.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption From left, Khurshid Ahmed, Talat Aslam, Mohammed Aslam, Rabia Ahmad, Noshina Ahmed and baby Adam, who all died in the crash

Travel firm Haji Tours named the youngest victim as Muhammad Adam Anis, who was just two months old, and known as Adam.

It also named the baby's grandparents among the dead, 64-year-old Khurshid Ahmed and Noshina Ahmed, 49, and Noshina's sister Rabia Ahmad, 57, who were all from Manchester.

The Manchester-based tour operator, which booked the trip, said it has arranged for relatives to fly from London to Saudi Arabia on Thursday evening.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionA relative speaks about family members killed in the bus crash in Saudi Arabia

The couple from Scotland were named by Glasgow Central Mosque as Mohammad Aslam and Talat Aslam, who have five children.

Among the injured was a 63-year-old woman, now in a critical condition, while the baby's mother Ataka Anis and two of her children, aged two and four, are in a stable condition, Haji Tours said.

It is believed those involved were in Saudi Arabia for Umrah - a pilgrimage to Mecca which can be undertaken at any time of the year.

'A beautiful angel'

Relative Sophia Ahmed, whose mother was injured, said she had been "living a nightmare" since learning of the crash on Wednesday.

"We were praying that we'd been given the wrong news," Ms Ahmed told BBC News from her home in Manchester. "They all left very happily on Wednesday night... half those people are not there any more."

Ms Ahmed said baby Adam, who was her second cousin, was "a cute, beautiful angel".

She added: "My mother has been injured very badly, she has injures to her head, her eyes, her face, her body."

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Khurshid Ahmed and his grandson Adam, who was born in November, died on the way to Medina

A Foreign Office spokesman said consular assistance was being provided to relatives.

"We are supporting the families of six British people who have sadly died following a road accident in Saudi Arabia," the spokesman said.

"We are also helping several more British nationals who were injured in the crash," he added.

"Our thoughts are with the victims and their families at this very difficult time."

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionMohammad Arif of Haji Tours: "It is heartbreaking, it is very sad news".

Haji Tours said it was the first accident it had been involved in during nearly 15 years of running tours there.

Mohammad Arif of Haji Tours told the BBC: "A tyre burst on the motorway and you can understand what happens on the motorway when a tyre has burst.

"It's a very bad time for the families here in the UK."

'Popular' couple

The Britons had been in Mecca for five days and were thought to be on their way to the Prophet's Mosque, a holy site in Medina.

Glasgow Central Mosque said Mr and Mrs Aslam were "popular members of the community".

"They had just completed Umrah and were travelling in a minibus," a statement released by the mosque said.

"Tragically they were involved in a fatal accident."

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Mohammad and Talat Aslam, from Glasgow, had joined the Ahmad family for the pilgrimage

The statement added: "We would kindly request the family be given space and time to grieve for their loved ones and to come to terms with their sudden loss."

Nearly 7,800 people died on Saudi Arabian roads in 2013, according to police records compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The data says 27.4 out of 100,000 Saudis were killed on roads in one year, compared with a recorded 2.9 per 100,000 people living in the UK.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The crash victims were on their way to the Prophet Mohammed Mosque in Medina

More on this story