There was no criminal motive behind last year’s deadly crane collapse at Makkah’s Grand Mosque, Saudi’s Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution has decided, according to reports.
Saudi Gazette cited sources within the Summary Court in Jeddah, which is trying 14 suspects in the case, as saying the bureau had dismissed criminal intent.
The collapse of the crane on September 11, 2015 resulted in the deaths of 107 people and injuries to hundreds more.
Those on trial are said to comprise six Saudis, including one billionaire, two Pakistanis, a Canadian, a Jordanian, a Palestinian, an Egyptian an Emirati and a Filipino. They are accused of negligence, damaging public property and ignoring safety guidelines.
None have been named.
The publication cited sources as saying the bureau had also dismissed strong winds and other weather conditions as the cause of the collapse.
Instead bureau officials now believe that crane’s positioning may have been to blame when it was knocked down by winds exceeding 80kmh.
“The position of the crane was contrary to the instructions contained in the operations manual of the manufacturing company,” the bureau said, according to the publication.
It cited the unit’s operations manual as saying the crane’s right arm should have been pulled down when it was not in use and at all times during bad weather.
A separate case is now being initiated against an expatriate involved in the incident who has left the kingdom.
Authorities have been asked to bring the Egyptian man, who was the engineer in charge of operating the crane, back to stand trial.
Earlier this week, a report from the Saudi Finance Ministry suggested he had not responded to repeated requests to remove the crane from the Grand Mosque as it was not in use for about 10 months.
More than 80 engineers and technicians have been investigated as part of the case, sources told the publication.
Other individuals summoned for investigation include those from the Finance Ministry, members of the technical committee of Umm Al-Qura University monitoring the Grand Mosque expansion, officials from the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment, the Civil Defence and the department of projects at the Presidency of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques.
Saudi Gazette cited the sources as saying Binladin Group had presented a written commitment to bear all the repair costs to the damaged section of the mosque.
The group, which was responsible for the crane as part of its expansion of the mosque area, was suspended in the days after the incident and banned from participating in new projects for months.