At least four Britons killed in Saudi Arabia coach crash

The coach crash involved at least four Britons killed while travelling on an Umra pilgrimmage
The coach crash involved at least four Britons killed while travelling on an Umra pilgrimmage
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At least four Britons have died in a serious road crash in Saudi Arabia.

A woman aged in her 60s from Blackburn, Lancashire, an elderly woman and her adult son, from Preston, Lancashire, and an elderly man, also from Preston, died in yesterday’s coach crash near the town of Al Khalas.

Blackburn-based Hashim Travel said the coach they were on was hit by a fuel tanker.

The driver of the petrol tanker is also said to have died, while other coach passengers were treated for fractures.

Family members of the victims are planning to fly out to Saudi Arabia within the next 24 hours.

The travel firm’s director Gulfaraz Zaman said: “The coach driver said they were travelling in the opposite direction to the petrol tanker when a car overtook the tanker and he had to move in to the side of the road a little to let it through, but then the petrol tanker hit the coach, which caught fire.”

Those killed were travelling from Mecca to Medina on an Umra pilgrimage when the incident happened.

Eighteen people were on board the coach.

Another 12 British nationals, including a young child, are understood to be among those injured.

A Foreign Office (FCO) spokesman confirmed there were UK fatalities among the victims.

The spokesman said: “We are supporting the British families of those who have died and those injured following a serious road traffic accident near the town of Al Khalas, Saudi Arabia.”

Al Khalas is a settlement roughly 30 miles north of the holy site of Mecca.

The Umra pilgrimage is optional for Muslims and on a smaller scale than the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which Muslims are obliged to undertake.