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Saudi Summary Court begins Makkah crane crash trial

The Summary Court began the trial of a Saudi billionaire and 13 other defendants charged with causing the Makkah crane crash

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After 290 days of thorough investigations, the Summary Court on Wednesday began the trial of a Saudi billionaire and 13 other defendants charged with causing the death of 110 people, injuries of 210 and permanent disability of eight others when a giant crane crashed in the Grand Mosque in September 2015.

The defendants consisted of six Saudis, two Pakistanis and one each from Jordan, Philippines, Canada, Palestine, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

The court issued a strong warning to the defendants against missing the sessions.

Meanwhile, informed sources said the black box of the crane, which was read by the manufacturing company in Germany, revealed that the angle of the main arm of the crane at the time of the crash was 87 degrees.

According to information revealed after the black box data analysis, the speed of the wind was 80km/h a day before the crash happened.

Investigators from the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution (BIP) questioned 170 engineers, technicians and workers of the Saudi Binladen Group which owned and operated the crane.

They also reviewed e-mail messages exchanged between senior officials of the group concerning the work of the cranes near the Haram, studied all related documents and reviewed the operation and maintenance contracts.

They also considered the reports of the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PEM) about weather conditions in Makkah before and during the crash.

The BIP summoned members of a technical committee of Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah which is following up the safety of the Holy Haram. The crane was 200 meters high and weighed 1350 tons.

This article first appeared in the Saudi Gazette on August 11, 2016.