At Least 23 Killed by Electrocution Following Celebratory Firing at Wedding Party that Knocked Down Electric Cable

Aftermath of mass electrocution at Saudi wedding (Photo from AlRiyadh.com via Al Arabiya)

Tragedy struck at a wedding Tuesday night in Saudi Arabia. During a marriage celebration in the eastern part of the country, at least 23 people were killed – mostly women – and some 30 injured when an electric cable was knocked down by celebratory gunfire.

Al Arabiya reports:

The disaster occurred when a high voltage power line fell down and touched the metal door of the house where the wedding was being held, according to sources from the Saudi Civil Defense.

In line with traditions in the Gulf, wedding celebrations in Saudi Arabia are segregated.

Most of the casualties were women, and they died as they attempted to escape through the electrified metal door, the Civil Defense sources told Al Arabiya.

Many of the victims were electrocuted as they attempted to leave the building, the Saudi-based news website Sabq reported.

A photograph of the aftermath of the accident, published on local newspapers’ websites showed a large courtyard strewn with fallen chairs and a pole in the middle supporting cables carrying lightbulbs.

AP reports: “Saudi Arabia’s ultraconservative codes require genders to be separated at most public events, including weddings.”

The tragedy occurred near Abqaiq, the main center for Saudi Arabia’s lucrative oil industry. According to Al Arabiya, 25 were killed.

Celebratory gunfire is a common occurrence at weddings the Middle East – especially in rural areas – though according to Al Jazeera, Saudi Arabia banned the shooting of firearms at weddings last month.

Injuries from the practice are not unprecedented. TheBlaze last year reported that 20 Palestinians were injured from celebratory gunfire after Israel released prisoners back to Gaza. Bullets and shrapnel ended up hitting revelers in the head, face, neck and thigh.

In the wake of the repeated demonstrations of celebratory gunfire during the Libyan revolution last year, TheBlaze examined how errant gunfire – even when fired in joy – can be very dangerous.