Mecca crane collapse: ‘40 to stand trial’ – report

Accused include 30 staff at construction firm

PHOTO: At least 107 people were killed and hundreds injured when a crane collapsed on September 11 at the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Credit: Twitter

About 40 people are set to stand trial before three courts in the Saudi city of Jeddah for their alleged involvement in the Mecca crane collapse last September, local daily Al-Watan reported.

According to the report, the accused include 30 top officials and staff at the contractor responsible for the expansion project at the Grand Mosque, as well as 10 people from government departments.

The number of defendants is expected to increase when more people are investigated next week, it was reported. Al-Watan cited unnamed sources who said the prosecutor general is currently preparing a list of charges against the defendants.

The summary court will handle the criminal aspect of the case and issue discretionary verdicts against the defendants, and the general court will look into the issue of “blood money” and compensation.

Meanwhile, the administrative court will look at violations in the contracts signed between the construction company and several ministries and government departments.

Saudi Binladin Group was the main construction company involved in the project.

The defendants in the case may face charges of negligence causing the loss of lives and property, it was reported.

Over 200 people including engineers, managers and members of the boards of directors have been questioned by the investigating committee, sources said. The committee also studied documents on the crane’s operation, maintenance contracts and the safety measures in the Grand Mosque expansion project.

The crane collapse, last September, killed at least 107 people, leaving hundreds injured. The crane was said to have been unable to withstand the strong winds blowing at the time of the tragedy, with manufacturer Liebherr noting that the boom should have been lowered to the ground to prevent the crane from tilting.

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