About a week ago, a bus -carrying students from the Islamic University of Madinah- blew a tire and crashed killing some of the passengers and injuring many others.
Every year, the Islamic University provides free trips for selected students to travel to Makkah during the blessed month of Ramadhan, to perform `Umrah and stay in Makkah for a day or two. These opportunities are great for the students since most of us can't afford lodging in Makkah during these peak seasonal times.
Hotels that normally charge under 100 Saudi Riyals for a decent room -with its own bathroom and maybe a little fridge- costs upwards of 300 Saudi Riyals per night. They go all the way up to 700 Saudi Riyals during Ramadhan's Last Ten Days. When a trip is arranged by the Islamic University, students are provided with buses -either chartered or owned- by the University and lodging in Makkah's Darul-Hadeeth school. Darul-Hadeeth is a secondary school that is administered by the Islamic University of Madinah. There are two Daurl-Hadeeth schools, one in Madinah and one in Makkah. Normally students are assigned four to a room, each with his own bed.
All in all, the trip is pretty nice, due to the financial burden that the Islamic University is able to handle due to its many resources. But not everybody gets to go on the trip. Students sign up on a list at their respective faulties which they study in. If you have gone before,then you might not be able to go. Mostly, the newer students are picked to go, I believe I was able to go in my second year in the University, wal-hamdu lillaah.
About a week ago, the bus left Madinah with the students on their way to Makkah. Along the way, the bus caught a flat tire, and possibly tumbled. From what I have heard from several students, there were some fatalities. Until now, it seems that the news hasn't been spread officially, but I've heard of a student from Switzerland and another from Bosnia having passed away in the crash. Also, it seems about ten or more were injured or wounded.
Any news learned in the future will be updated on this same page insha Allah.
For those of you who'd like ot know about how such tragedies happen, check out this article on Driving in Saudi Arabia