Asharq Al-Awsat, Jeddah- A woman who has been missing since the collapse of a hotel in Mecca during the Hajj pilgrimage earlier this month was confirmed dead on Thursday.
The Criminal Investigation department in Mecca confirmed that the body of a woman from the United Arab Emirates was identified and handed over to her family.
Mona Abdullah Ali Hassan, aged 29, and Halima Abdullah Sulayman, aged 33, from the United Arab Emirates, have not been seen since the Luluat Hotel collapsed on 6 January, killing more than 76 people and injuring dozens. They had traveled with their uncle, Rashed Said, to perform the Hajj pilgrimage.
Abdel Basit Qari, a Saudi engineer who had taken part in the search for the two women indicated that Mona had perished in the incident and her body was identified Thursday.
The authorities told the family that Mona’s body was mistakenly handed over to a man from Bangladesh, believing it was his wife. The latter was later identified in the city mortuary.
The Interior Ministry sent a delegate to the UAE to carry out DNA tests of Mona’s mother and siblings to assist in the identification.
Forty corpses have yet to be identified because they lost their limbs when the Luluat Hotel came down. It is thought that Halima is amongst them. “DNA samples brought from the UAE will be checked in order to determine whether Halima is among the dead,” Qari said.
Ahmad Ziyab, had been clinging to the hope his wife was still alive. This, Qari added, seems unlikely now.