Jeddah – Saudi Criminal Court granted the defendants in the crane incident of last year 45 days to challenge the accusations.
In September 2015, a giant crane crashed in Makkah’s Grand Mosque causing the death of 107 people and the injury of 238 others, including the permanent disability of eight.
According to sources, the court will hold its session after Eid al-Adha to listen to pleas of the 13 accused in the incident. The defendants include six Saudis and two Pakistanis. There is also one defendant from each of Jordan, Philippines, Canada, Palestine, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.
After over 200 days of investigations, commission of inquiry instituted the lawsuit to the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution (BIP) in Makkah which handed its findings to Makkah’s criminal court for judicial review. BIP studied the reasons behind the crash, weather conditions, speed of wind and safety measures during construction at the crowded area.
According to information revealed after analyzing the crane’s black box, the speed of the wind was 80km/h a day before the crash took place. BIP also reviewed report of the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PEM) about weather conditions in Makkah before and during the crash. The crane was 200 meters high and weighed 1350 tons.
Shortly after the incident, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman arrived at the site to inspect the damage. HE announced that an investigation will be done into the reasons behind this tragedy.
“My visit today is to check what had happened and to know how can we renovate the site again. We will investigate the causes of the accident and later announce the results to the public,” the King told the press back then.
He stressed: “All the Saudi leaders are honored to serve these mosques, ever since the period of the Kingdom’s founder late King Abdulaziz to date. Makkah and Madinah are more important to us than anything else in the world.”
The King had ordered SR1 million to be paid to the relatives of those killed, and the same amount to those permanently injured. Those with lighter injuries were to receive half that amount.