In Brief

Four Britons die during pilgrimage to Mecca

Further 12 British nationals were injured after coach hit by fuel tanker in Saudi Arabia

Four British nationals have died and 12 others have been injured after their coach collided with a petrol tanker in Saudi Arabia.

The UK Foreign Office said the victims of the crash were on a pilgrimage to the Islamic holy site of Mecca. The tanker caught fire following the collision on Saturday, setting the bus alight.

The vehicle was travelling from Mecca to Medina when the accident occurred near the town of Al Khalas, 30 miles north of Mecca.

A UK Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We are supporting the British families of those who have died and those injured.”

Blackburn-based company Hashim Travel, which organised the trip, said those killed were an elderly woman and her adult son, and an elderly man, all from Preston, and a woman from Blackburn. A total of 18 people were on the coach.

The company’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.”

Describing the incident as “horrendous”, Zaman told the BBC: "If you see the remains of the bus, there's just the metal frame of it that's left. It's very upsetting - especially the people that have passed away. Our thoughts are with the families.”

The driver of the petrol tanker is also believed to have died, reports The Independent. The victims’ families are flying out to Saudi Arabia today.

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