Saudi: No "foul play" in Mecca crane crash

The BIP has so far investigated more than 80 engineers and technicians and reviewed several reports including one on the safety procedures and the maintenance of the crane

Hundreds were killed and injured when the crane collapsed on the Grand Mosque.
Hundreds were killed and injured when the crane collapsed on the Grand Mosque.

The Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution (BIP) in Saudi Arabia has dismissed any criminal motive behind the giant crane collapse on the Grand Mosque in September 2015, according to sources of the Summary Court in Jeddah.

More than 107 pilgrims were killed and several injured in the tragedy.

The sources said the BIP has also dismissed the pretext of strong winds and thunderbolts as the main causes for the 1,300 tonne crane crash.

They said the bureau, however, believes that the crane was stationed in a wrong position when it was subjected to strong winds exceeding 80km/h. “The position of the crane was contrary to the instructions contained in the operations manual of the manufacturing company,” the bureau said.

According to the BIP, the right arm of the crane was at an angle of 85o which was wrong. Citing the operations manual, the bureau said the right arm should have been pulled down in case the crane was not in use and also at times of bad weather.

The bureau decided to initiate a separate case against an expatriate who is involved in the incident but fled the Kingdom. It asked the concerned authorities to bring him back to stand trial, reported Saudi Gazette.

According to a report by the Finance Ministry, an Egyptian engineer who was in charge of operating the crane, had stubbornly refused to respond to its repeated requests to remove the crane away from the Grand Mosque especially as it was not in use for about 10 months.

According to the sources, the BIP has so far investigated more than 80 engineers and technicians and reviewed several reports including one on the safety procedures and the maintenance of the crane.

They said the bureau also decided to summon other people for investigations including officials from the Finance Ministry, members of the technical committee of Umm Al-Qura University which is monitoring the expansion projects, officials from the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME), the Civil Defense and the department of projects at the Presidency of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques.

Meanwhile, sources have revealed that the Binladin Group has presented a written commitment to the court to bear all the costs of the repair of the damaged sections of the Grand Mosque.

Fourteen people are on trial in the case; newspaper reports said six Saudis, including a billionaire, as well as two Pakistanis, a Canadian, a Jordanian, a Palestinian, an Egyptian, an Emirati and a Filipino are on trial. 

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