Saudi Arabia’s King Salman sanctions Binladin firm over pre-hajj tragedy.

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RIYADH

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman sanctioned the powerful Saudi Binladin Group Tuesday over the collapse of a construction crane at Mecca’s Grand Mosque, which killed more than 100 people days before the hajj pilgrimage.

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.

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”.
Saudi Binladin Group had been working for four years on a multi-billion-dollar 400,000-square-metre (4.3-million-square-feet) enlargement of the Grand Mosque, to accommodate increasing numbers of pilgrims.

SPA said that Salman has ordered payments of one million riyals ($267,000) to the family of each deceased, and at least 500,000 riyals to each injured person.

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