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American Couple Dies During Hajj Pilgrimage In Saudi Arabia

Pilgrim buses line up during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, June 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

An American couple from Bowie, Maryland, tragically lost their lives during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Isatu Tejan Wurie, 65, and Alieu Dausy Wurie, 71, had saved their entire lives for this religious journey, only to meet a devastating end due to extreme temperatures that have claimed the lives of hundreds of pilgrims.

The Wuries, both American citizens, were part of a tour group that lacked proper transportation and supplies for the pilgrimage. Their daughter, Saida Wurie, revealed that the tour company did not provide the necessary credentials for the journey, leaving her parents ill-prepared for the rigorous pilgrimage.

Despite being in contact with her parents during the trip, Saida received distressing messages indicating that her parents were struggling with the conditions. The couple went missing on Mount Arafat, a significant site for pilgrims, after Alieu Dausy Wurie could not continue the journey due to exhaustion.

Tragically, the Wuries were pronounced dead on June 15 due to 'natural causes,' likely heat stroke, in the scorching temperatures that soared to 125 degrees Fahrenheit in Mecca. The US Consulate in Jeddah informed Saida of her parents' passing but was unable to provide details about their burial location.

They were part of a tour group lacking proper transportation and supplies.
Isatu and Alieu Wurie lost their lives during the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
The couple went missing on Mount Arafat due to extreme temperatures.

Desperate for answers, Saida and her siblings are seeking assistance from American diplomats to locate their parents' burial place and retrieve their belongings. However, the Saudi government has already buried the couple, complicating the family's efforts to give them a proper burial.

The deaths of multiple US citizens during the Hajj have raised concerns about the preparations and safety measures in place for pilgrims. With temperatures reaching record highs, the Saudi authorities deployed medical units and rapid response teams to address heat-related illnesses, but reports of inadequate provisions and casualties continue to emerge.

This tragic incident adds to a history of pilgrim deaths during the Hajj, with previous stampedes and heat-related fatalities highlighting the risks faced by millions of worshippers who undertake this sacred journey each year.

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