Families coming to terms with tragic loss

Families coming to terms with tragic loss
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Families coming to terms with tragic loss
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Updated 15 September 2015

Families coming to terms with tragic loss

Families coming to terms with tragic loss

JEDDAH: The relatives and friends of those who died during the crane crash at the Grand Mosque in Makkah on Friday are gradually coming to terms with the loss of their loved ones.
The parents and family members of 33-year-old Qasim Akram, a British national from Bolton, said they were devastated by the tragedy, according to reports.
Akram was the father of four little children. He was in Makkah with his parents to perform Haj this year. His father and mother were also in the Grand Mosque, but Akram was reportedly about 45 meters ahead of them. They escaped unhurt.
The three had arrived in Makkah on Friday, a couple of hours before the tragedy struck claiming 111 lives and injuring many others. There were strong winds blowing at the time.
“I knew Akram personally, he was the most pleasant, hard-working, smiling and helpful young man you could ever meet,” Akhtar Zaman, a local councilor for Halliwell in the United Kingdom was quoted as saying by British newspapers. “I saw him on Wednesday and he was really looking forward to it, smiling and asking me for tips because I went for Haj last year.”
Akram came from a big family. “They are devastated to the core. He has four children and the youngest may be one-and-a-half or two years old,” said Zaman.
“I don’t know how to describe this loss. He was a member of the mosque and very active. He was the son of one of the founding members. He helped with the affairs of the mosque and the running of the mosque. His father was the secretary. He was very close to his family,” said Zaman. “It is a huge loss to the family and a big loss for the wider community.”
Mohammad Altaf Arif, of Arif Haj and Umrah Services, the travel operator who flew the family out on Friday, confirmed that it was Akram’s first Haj. Yasmin Qureshi, member of Parliament for Bolton South East, tweeted: “Saddened to hear that a young man from Bolton was among those killed. Thoughts and prayers are with the family.”
The sentiment in the Turkish city of Trabzon was no different. Sixty-one-year-old Erol Karaagacli was among the eight Turkish victims. Hundreds of locals visited Karaagacli’s house to convey their condolences.
Karaagacli’s son, Bahadir, told Turkish newspapers that his father and mother had been chosen from a list of pilgrims after waiting for eight years. Bahadir said his mother was injured and is being treated at a Makkah hospital.
In the south Indian district of Pallakad in Kerala, many locals turned up at the home of Muameena Ismail, who was among the 11 Indian victims. A mother of three children, she was only 30 years old.
She had come to Saudi Arabia with a private tour operator to perform Haj along with Ismail, her businessman husband. At the time of the tragedy, Ismail had gone out to fetch tea for her, which is how he survived.