Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has ordered a re-trial of those accused of involvement with the fatal incident on September 11th, 2015, in which a 1,350 tonne crawler crane overturned in strong winds, with the boom landing on the Grand Mosque in Mecca, killing 111 people, mostly pilgrims attending the annual Haj, and injuring more than 390 others.
Last August the Court of Appeal upheld the Mecca Criminal Court’s decision to exonerate all of the defendants in the case, including the main contractor - the Saudi Bin Laden Group - of all charges.
The Criminal Court had already cleared all 13 defendants of the negligence charges back in 2017, concluding that weather conditions, not human error or fault, had caused the incident.
The preliminary stage of the new trial is already underway, with the indictment stating that some crane operators, installers, and inspectors working on the site lacked competence. It also accused the main contractor of not hiring qualified workers and not providing adequate training for them.
The indictment also claims that the crane operator did not provide specific information about the wind speed at which the cranes should stop work and the point at which the jib should be brought down/stowed. It also noted that the crane operator and safety officials were not provided with a weather forecast or bulletin.