Four Britons have died and 12 others were injured in a bus crash while on an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Tour operators Hashim Travel said the coach the four Britons were on was hit by a fuel tanker which then caught fire and set the bus alight.

A woman in her 60s from Blackburn, in Lancashire, an elderly woman and her adult son, from Preston, Lancashire, and an elderly man, also from Preston, died in the crash near the town of Al Khalas, said the Blackburn-based travel firm.

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

Advertisement

The Umrah is a Muslim pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia undertaken at any time of the year, compared to the 'Hajj' which must be done on dates of the Islamic calendar.

The UK Foreign Office says it is aware British Nationals have been killed in an accident in Saudi Arabia.

The travel firm said relatives of those who have died have been informed. It is also understood that a young child is among the injured.

The coach was travelling from Mecca to Medina as part of an Umra pilgrimage when the collision happened.

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

Hashim Travel specialises in Umrah and Hajj and has been providing travel packages for the past 15 years.

Gulfaraz Zaman, the director of the company, said there were 18 people in total on board.

Other passengers on the hired bus were from Accrington, Preston, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Northampton and Blackburn.

Advertisement