Saudi Binladin Group Suspended Following Mecca Crane Crash

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Following the crane collapse that killed over 100 people on the anniversary of 9/11 in Mecca, the Saudi Royal Court suspended the Binladen group’s ability to bid on new projects until the investigation is complete.

The Binladin group and additional sanctions

The Binladen group is one of Saudi Arabia’s largest construction companies in the country and was founded by Osama bin Laden’s father over 80 years ago five years after the founding of the Kingdom. Presently, the company is run by Osama bin Laden’s brother Bakr.

In addition to the moratorium on bidding for future projects, King Salman ordered that senior executives as well as members of the company’s board be forbidden from traveling outside of the kingdom until all investigations have been completed.

The King also ordered 1 million riyals ($267,000) be paid to the families of those killed, with the same amount to paid out to those permanently injured. Those injured less seriously are expected to receive half that amount.

According to the state run Saudi Press Agency, the finance ministry will also investigate the company’s present projects which include not just its work on the Grand Mosque in Mecca where the company was hired to expand the mosque by 4.3 million square feet, enough space to accommodate 2.2 million Muslim worshipers inside the mosque at one time.

The company has also been contracted to oversee the $7.2 billion expansion of King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah.

Cause of the Saudi collapse

The accident occurred around 6:30 PM local time and was caused by strong winds and the mistaken position of crane, according to the statement today.

“If it weren’t for Al-Tawaf bridge the injuries and deaths would have been worse,” said Abdel Aziz Naqoor, an employee at the mosque, told AFP after witnessing the collapse. While the majority of the deaths were Saudis, 16 were Pakistanis, 15 from Iran and nine Indian citizens were among those killed.
The accident occurred less than two weeks before the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

Past problems in Mecca

Stampedes at the end of the Hajj have caused troubles in the past as pilgrims look to finish their praying and get out of the city as quick as possible. Around 300 were killed in 2006 and 2004 saw around 200 killed. The worst stampede occurred in 1990 leaving over 1,400 dead.

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