Maryland Couple Among Pilgrims Who Died of Extreme Heat in Mecca

While making the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, a Maryland couple, Alieu Dausy Wurie and Isatu Tejan Wurie, perished in the sweltering heat. 

The pair endured hours of scorching sun as they awaited transportation to Mount Arafat. The yearly Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, which is obligatory for all Muslims who are able to do so, draws millions of people every year and has been their lifelong goal.

Their daughter, Saida Wurie, has been trying to locate their remains since June 15, when she last spoke to them. They told her they were waiting for a ride, dying in the heat.

Heat stroke was mentioned as the probable cause of death. According to the Consulate General’s office, Saida is now attempting to locate the couple’s remains, as they have already been laid to rest.

Throughout the week of June, Mecca had highs between 109 and 113 degrees Fahrenheit. The hottest day of the month was June 15th.

As Saida explained, her mother had just retired as chief nurse at Kaiser Permanente in Prince George’s County, and her father had always wanted to go on the trip. The couple arranged the vacation through a Maryland-based business that Saida feels did not adequately care for her parents, even though they spent $23,000 for the trek.

It was determined that the pair would walk while they waited for transportation. According to one of their group members, Alieu Dausy stopped to take a break, and the pair vanished. 

A member of their group called the daughter to let them know that they had been gone for several days and had not returned to their hotel after the hajj ceremony.

Angela Alsobrooks, a Democrat running for the Senate, paid homage to the pair, saying that Haja Isatu Wurie was a very involved part of their community who had a profound effect on people all across the world. 

In 2024, more than two million individuals will have made the journey to perform the Hajj, making it one of Islam’s five pillars.