Saturday 3 December 2016

Construction giant Saudi Binladin Group partly blamed for Mecca crane deaths

Published 15/09/2015 | 19:14

A towering construction crane, center, is seen collapsed over the Grand Mosque, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, early Saturday morning, Sept. 12, 2015. The towering construction crane toppled over on Friday during a violent rainstorm in the Saudi city of Mecca, Islam's holiest site, crashing into the Grand Mosque, ahead of the start of the annual hajj pilgrimage later this month.(AP Photo)
A towering construction crane, center, is seen collapsed over the Grand Mosque, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, early Saturday morning, Sept. 12, 2015. The towering construction crane toppled over on Friday during a violent rainstorm in the Saudi city of Mecca, Islam's holiest site, crashing into the Grand Mosque, ahead of the start of the annual hajj pilgrimage later this month.(AP Photo)

Saudi Arabia has partly blamed the construction giant Saudi Binladin Group for the collapse of a crane at Mecca that killed at least 111 people and injured over 390 ahead of the hajj.

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The crash came just days before millions arrive in the kingdom for the pilgrimage, which is required at least once in the life of every able-bodied Muslim.

Friday's collapse came amid high winds and a rainstorm, but a royal decree from King Salman said the Binladin Group should not have left the crane's arm up when it was not in use.

An Arabic version of the decree, carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, said the Binladin Group was partly to blame for the collapse. The news agency's English service did not report that detail, but did say leaders of the company have been banned from travelling abroad.

The Binladin Group has not released any statements about the crane collapse and its representatives have not been made available for comment. The royal decree also blamed the group for not using up-to-date safety measures and failing to coordinate with meteorological officials.

Dozens of cranes surround Mecca's Grand Mosque, part of the massive construction effort headed by the Binladin Group.

The Binladin family has been close to Saudi Arabia's ruling family for decades and runs major building projects. Al Qaida's late leader Osama bin Laden was a renegade son disowned by the family in the 1990s.

Officials ordered one million riyals (£174,000) be paid to the relatives of those killed, and the same amount to those permanently injured. Others injured will receive half that amount.

The Health Ministry said 394 people were treated after the collapse, and 158 remain in hospital.

In this image released by the Saudi Interior Ministrys General Directorate of Civil Defense, an area is cordoned off at the Grand Mosque in Mecca after a crane collapsed killing dozens, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. The accident happened as pilgrims from around the world converged on the city, Islam's holiest site, for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which takes place this month. (Saudi Interior Ministry General Directorate of Civil Defense via AP)
In this image released by the Saudi Interior Ministrys General Directorate of Civil Defense, an area is cordoned off at the Grand Mosque in Mecca after a crane collapsed killing dozens, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. The accident happened as pilgrims from around the world converged on the city, Islam's holiest site, for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which takes place this month. (Saudi Interior Ministry General Directorate of Civil Defense via AP)
FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014 file photo, the Abraj Al-Bait Towers with the four-faced clocks stands over the holy Kabaa, as Muslims encircle it inside the Grand Mosque during the annual pilgrimage, known as the hajj, in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia's civil defense authority says dozens of people have been killed after a crane collapsed on the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)
An aerial view shows Muslim worshippers praying at the Grand mosque surrounded by construction cranes, in the holy city of Mecca in this July 14, 2015 file photo. At least 65 people were killed when a crane crashed in Mecca's Grand Mosque on September 11, 2015, Saudi Arabia's Civil Defence authority said, in an accident that came just weeks before Islam's annual haj pilgrimage. REUTERS/Ali Al Qarni/Files
Construction cranes surround the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca in this January 6, 2013 file photo as Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba and pray during Umrah. At least 65 people were killed when a crane crashed in Mecca's Grand Mosque on September 11, 2015, Saudi Arabia's Civil Defence authority said, in an accident that came just weeks before Islam's annual haj pilgrimage. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Files
FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014 file photo, the Abraj Al-Bait Towers with the four-faced clocks stands over the holy Kabaa, as Muslims encircle it inside the Grand Mosque during the annual pilgrimage, known as the hajj, in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia's civil defense authority says dozens of people have been killed after a crane collapsed on the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)
In this image released by the Saudi Interior Ministrys General Directorate of Civil Defense, emergency service vehicles are seen near the Grand Mosque in Mecca, after a crane collapsed killing dozens, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. The accident happened as pilgrims from around the world converged on the city, Islam's holiest site, for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which takes place this month. The civil defense authority announced the collapse and a series of rising casualty numbers on its official Twitter account. (Saudi Interior Ministry General Directorate of Civil Defense via AP)
This still image taken from video, shows the moment a crane collapses over the Grand Mosque in Mecca, killing dozens, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. The accident happened as pilgrims from around the world converged on the city, Islam's holiest site, for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which takes place this month. (AP Photo/Mohamed Ahmed Al-Askar)
FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 file photo, cranes rise at the site of an expansion to the Grand Mosque as Muslim pilgrims circle counterclockwise around the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. A towering construction crane toppled over on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015 during a violent rainstorm in the Saudi city of Mecca, Islam?s holiest site, crashing into the Grand Mosque and killing dozens of people ahead of the start of the annual hajj pilgrimage later this month.(AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)
Members of an emergency crew stand near damage caused by a collapsed crane at the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia September 11, 2015. At least 107 people were killed when a crane toppled over at Mecca's Grand Mosque on Friday, Saudi Arabia's Civil Defence authority said, less than two weeks before Islam's annual haj pilgrimage. REUTERS/Stringer
Pilgrims and first responders gather at the site of a crane collapse that killed dozens inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. The accident happened as pilgrims from around the world converged on the city, Islam's holiest site, for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which takes place this month. (AP Photo)
Saudi officials stand near damage caused by a collapsed crane at the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia September 11, 2015. At least 107 people were killed when a crane toppled over at Mecca's Grand Mosque on Friday, Saudi Arabia's Civil Defence authority said, less than two weeks before Islam's annual haj pilgrimage. REUTERS/Stringer
Members of a Saudi emergency crew stand near damage caused by a collapsed crane at the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia September 11, 2015. At least 107 people were killed when a crane toppled over at Mecca's Grand Mosque on Friday, Saudi Arabia's Civil Defence authority said, less than two weeks before Islam's annual haj pilgrimage. REUTERS/Stringer
A towering construction crane, center, is seen collapsed over the Grand Mosque, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, early Saturday morning, Sept. 12, 2015. The construction crane toppled over on Friday during a violent rainstorm in the Saudi city of Mecca, Islam's holiest site, crashing into the Grand Mosque, ahead of the start of the annual hajj pilgrimage later this month. (AP Photo)
Damage caused by a collapsed crane is seen in the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia September 11, 2015. At least 107 people were killed when a crane toppled over at Mecca's Grand Mosque on Friday, Saudi Arabia's Civil Defence authority said, less than two weeks before Islam's annual haj pilgrimage. REUTERS/Stringer
Muslim pilgrims leave the Grand Mosque, as a towering construction crane, top, is seen collapsed over the Grand Mosque, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, early Saturday morning, Sept. 12, 2015. The towering construction crane toppled over on Friday during a violent rainstorm in the Saudi city of Mecca, Islam's holiest site, crashing into the Grand Mosque, ahead of the start of the annual hajj pilgrimage later this month. (AP Photo)
A towering construction crane, center, is seen collapsed over the Grand Mosque, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, early Saturday morning, Sept. 12, 2015. The towering construction crane toppled over on Friday during a violent rainstorm in the Saudi city of Mecca, Islam's holiest site, crashing into the Grand Mosque, ahead of the start of the annual hajj pilgrimage later this month.(AP Photo)
Civil Defense personnel inspect the damage at the Grand Mosque after a crane collapsed, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, early Saturday morning, Sept. 12, 2015. The towering construction crane toppled over on Friday during a violent rainstorm in the Saudi city of Mecca, Islam's holiest site, crashing into the Grand Mosque, ahead of the start of the annual hajj pilgrimage later this month. (AP Photo)
Damage caused by a collapsed crane is seen in the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia September 11, 2015. At least 107 people were killed when the crane toppled over at Mecca's Grand Mosque on Friday, Saudi Arabia's Civil Defence authority said, less than two weeks before Islam's annual haj pilgrimage. REUTERS/Saudi News Agency/Handout via Reuters
Damage caused by a collapsed crane is seen in the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia in this handout picture published on Twitter account of the Directorate of the Saudi Civil Defense September 11, 2015. At least 107 people were killed when a crane toppled over at Mecca's Grand Mosque on Friday, Saudi Arabia's Civil Defence authority said, less than two weeks before Islam's annual haj pilgrimage. REUTERS/Directorate of the Saudi Civil Defense/Handout via Reuters
Damage caused by a collapsed crane is seen in the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia September 11, 2015. At least 107 people were killed when the crane toppled over at Mecca's Grand Mosque on Friday, Saudi Arabia's Civil Defence authority said, less than two weeks before Islam's annual haj pilgrimage. REUTERS/Saudi News Agency/Handout via Reuters
Members of a Saudi emergency crew and people gather after a crane collapsed in the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia in this handout picture published on Twitter account of the Directorate of the Saudi Civil Defense September 11, 2015. At least 107 people were killed when the crane toppled over at Mecca's Grand Mosque on Friday, Saudi Arabia's Civil Defence authority said, less than two weeks before Islam's annual haj pilgrimage. REUTERS/Directorate of the Saudi Civil Defense/Handout via Reuters
Members of a Saudi emergency crew stand near damage caused by a collapsed crane in the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia in this handout picture published on Twitter account of the Directorate of the Saudi Civil Defense September 11, 2015. At least 107 people were killed when the crane toppled over at Mecca's Grand Mosque on Friday, Saudi Arabia's Civil Defence authority said, less than two weeks before Islam's annual haj pilgrimage. REUTERS/Directorate of the Saudi Civil Defense/Handout via Reuters
Damage caused by a collapsed crane is seen in the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia September 11, 2015. At least 107 people were killed when the crane toppled over at Mecca's Grand Mosque on Friday, Saudi Arabia's Civil Defence authority said, less than two weeks before Islam's annual haj pilgrimage. REUTERS/Saudi News Agency/Handout via Reuters
A construction crane is seen collapsed over the Grand Mosque, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, early Saturday morning, Sept. 12, 2015. The towering construction crane toppled over on Friday during a violent rainstorm in the Saudi city of Mecca, Islam's holiest site, crashing into the Grand Mosque and killing over a hundred people, ahead of the start of the annual hajj pilgrimage later this month. (AP Photo)
A construction crane is seen collapsed over the Grand Mosque, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, early Saturday morning, Sept. 12, 2015. The towering construction crane toppled over on Friday during a violent rainstorm in the Saudi city of Mecca, Islam's holiest site, crashing into the Grand Mosque and killing over a hundred people, ahead of the start of the annual hajj pilgrimage later this month. (AP Photo)
Part of a construction crane is seen coming through the ceiling of the Grand Mosque, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, early Saturday morning, Sept. 12, 2015. The towering construction crane toppled over on Friday during a violent rainstorm in the Saudi city of Mecca, Islam's holiest site, crashing into the Grand Mosque and killing over a hundred people, ahead of the start of the annual hajj pilgrimage later this month. (AP Photo)
A towering construction crane is seen collapsed over the Grand Mosque, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, early Saturday morning, Sept. 12, 2015. The towering construction crane toppled over on Friday during a violent rainstorm in the Saudi city of Mecca, Islam's holiest site, crashing into the Grand Mosque and killing over a hundred people, ahead of the start of the annual hajj pilgrimage later this month. (AP Photo)
In this image released by the Saudi Interior Ministrys General Directorate of Civil Defense, a collapsed crane and emergency services vehicles are seen near the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. The accident happened as pilgrims from around the world converged on the city, Islam's holiest site, for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which takes place this month, killing dozens. The civil defense authority announced the collapse and a series of rising casualty numbers on its official Twitter account. It said 154 people were wounded in the accident. (Saudi Interior Ministry General Directorate of Civil Defense via AP)
In this still image taken from video released by Saudi TV, a crane is seen collapsed over the Grand Mosque in Mecca, killing dozens, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. The accident happened as pilgrims from around the world converged on the city, Islam's holiest site, for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which takes place this month. (Saudi TV via AP)
Construction cranes surround the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca in this January 5, 2013 file photo. At least 65 people were killed when a crane crashed in Mecca's Grand Mosque on September 11, 2015, Saudi Arabia's Civil Defence authority said, in an accident that came just weeks before Islam's annual haj pilgrimage. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Files
In this image released by the Saudi Interior Ministrys General Directorate of Civil Defense, Civil Defense officials inspect the damage at the Grand Mosque in Mecca after a crane collapsed killing dozens, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. The accident happened as pilgrims from around the world converged on the city, Islam's holiest site, for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which takes place this month. (Saudi Interior Ministry General Directorate of Civil Defense via AP)
In this still image taken from video released by Saudi TV, a crane is seen collapsed over the Grand Mosque in Mecca, killing dozens, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. The accident happened as pilgrims from around the world converged on the city, Islam's holiest site, for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which takes place this month. (Saudi TV via AP)
Pilgrims and first responders gather at the site of a crane collapse that killed dozens inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. The accident happened as pilgrims from around the world converged on the city, Islam's holiest site, for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which takes place this month. (AP Photo)
Pilgrims and first responders gather at the site of a crane collapse that killed dozens inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. The accident happened as pilgrims from around the world converged on the city, Islam's holiest site, for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which takes place this month. (AP Photo)
Pilgrims and first responders gather at the site of a crane collapse that killed dozens inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. The accident happened as pilgrims from around the world converged on the city, Islam's holiest site, for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which takes place this month. (AP Photo)
Pilgrims and first responders gather at the site of a crane collapse that killed dozens inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. The accident happened as pilgrims from around the world converged on the city, Islam's holiest site, for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which takes place this month. (AP Photo)
Wounded pilgrims sit on the floor after a crane collapse that killed dozens inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. The accident happened as pilgrims from around the world converged on the city, Islam's holiest site, for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which takes place this month. (AP Photo)
In this image released by the Saudi Interior Ministrys General Directorate of Civil Defense, a collapsed crane is seen over the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. The accident happened as pilgrims from around the world converged on the city, Islam's holiest site, for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which takes place this month, killing dozens. The civil defense authority announced the collapse and a series of rising casualty numbers on its official Twitter account. (Saudi Interior Ministry General Directorate of Civil Defense via AP)

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