Saudi king imposes penalty on Binladin Group after Makkah crane crash

Updated September 15, 2015

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Royal Court announces 1m riyals as compensation for the bereaved families of martyrs and 0.5m for the injured. —AFP/File
Royal Court announces 1m riyals as compensation for the bereaved families of martyrs and 0.5m for the injured. —AFP/File

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Tuesday sanctioned the Saudi Binladin Group for last Friday's crane collapse at Makkah's Grand Mosque, which killed more than 100 people days before the Haj pilgrimage.

The construction firm belongs to the family of the late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

An investigative committee concluded that the company “was in part responsible” for Friday's tragedy, which killed at least 107 people and injured almost 400 during a severe thunderstorm accompanied by violent winds.

Investigators found that the crane was allegedly “in a wrong position” when the high winds struck, as its main arm should have been lowered, the official Saudi Press Agency said.

“The position of the crane was in violation of operating instructions prepared by the manufacturer,” SPA said, adding there had been no response to several letters from concerned authorities about that crane and others.

The firm's executives have been forbidden from leaving the kingdom pending the completion of legal action, SPA said, adding that Salman ordered prosecutors to prepare an indictment.

Until the case is closed, the company will also be excluded from new public projects.

Moreover, Saudi Royal Court has announced one million riyals as compensation for the bereaved families of martyrs and half million for injured of Makkah crane crash incident, Radio Pakistan reported on its website.

The Royal Court, however, said it did not find any conspiracy in its preliminary investigations into the incident.

It said that incident happened due to wrong positioning of the crane.

Also read: Karachi pilgrim recounts Makkah tragedy

According to Saudi Binladin Group's website, the company has worked on numerous prominent projects in Saudi Arabia including Al-Faisaliah tower in central Riyadh, King Abdullah Financial District, universities and the King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah.

Saudi Arabia's ministry of finance has been ordered to “urgently review all current government projects being executed by the Group and others to ensure compliance with safety procedures”, SPA said.

Saudi Binladin Group had been working for four years on a multi-billion-dollar 400,000-square-metre enlargement of the Grand Mosque, to accommodate increasing numbers of pilgrims.

At least 11 Pakistanis have been confirmed dead in the crane accident in Makkah's Grand Mosque on Friday, which resulted in the deaths of at least 107 pilgrims.

Meanwhile, according to Saudi media reports, the number of those who died in the incident is 15.

At least 47 Pakistanis were injured in the crane accident, earlier reports had said.

A massive construction crane crashed into Makkah's Grand Mosque in stormy weather Friday, killing at least 107 people and injuring 238, Saudi authorities said, less than a fortnight before the Haj pilgrimage starts.