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US Couple Died From Heat Exhaustion After Walking For Several Hours During Hajj

US Couple Died From Heat Exhaustion After Walking For Several Hours During Hajj

A US couple died during the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia after walking for more than two hours in extreme temperatures before succumbing to heat stroke, as their daughter informed. Alhaji Alieu Dausy Wurie, 71, and Haja Isatu Wurie, 65, were among approximately 1,300 individuals who lost their lives during the annual event, where temperatures soared above 122F (50C) at times.

Their daughter, Saida Wurie, revealed that her parents’ tour group failed to provide many promised essentials, including food and adequate water. The Sierra Leone-born couple disappeared on June 16, two weeks into their pilgrimage, and days later, Saida learned of their tragic death.

Read more: During The Hajj Of 2024, 35 Pakistani Pilgrims Were Among Hundreds Who Lost Their Lives

Describing Hajj as profoundly significant to her parents, Saida mentioned they had eagerly anticipated this journey, each paying $11,500 (£9,000) to participate. They traveled with a group of nearly 100 other pilgrims through an American tour company based in Maryland.

According to Saida, the tour did not deliver on many commitments. “They went several days without the promised meals,” she said. Despite the challenging conditions, her parents remained hopeful, trying to stay hydrated and taking each day as it came in the blistering heat.

In their final text exchange, following numerous missed calls, Ms. Wurie recounted her parents’ message that they had been walking for more than two hours. Shortly after, officials from the consulate and a member of their tour group confirmed the couple’s passing. With consular assistance, Ms. Wurie identified the cemetery where her parents were buried, though the exact location within remains unknown.

“They don’t have their personal belongings,” she lamented. “There are many questions, and we need answers.” Ms. Wurie intends to travel to Saudi Arabia to locate her parents’ burial site.

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She also expressed frustration with the tour company, which had promised proper visas and registration but failed to deliver. According to Saudi Arabia’s official news agency, a majority of Mecca pilgrims lacked official permits, as obtaining Hajj permits can be costly or complex.

Hajj is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca required of financially and physically capable Muslims at least once in their lives. Saudi Arabia reported participation by about 1.8 million people this year. The Health Minister emphasized recent efforts to raise awareness of heat-related stress, amid criticism over safety measures, particularly for unregistered pilgrims lacking access to air-conditioned facilities.