A massive crane weighing 1,300 tons which were being used for construction on the Grand Mosque crashed due to extreme stormy weather on Friday, September 11, 2015, and caused the deaths of 111 people while also injuring 394 additional people. The unfortunate tragedy took place as many hundreds of thousands of pilgrims had gathered at the Holy Mosque from all around the world for the Hajj Pilgrimage. The Emir of Makkah, Advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Prince Khaled Al-Faisal ordered the incident to be investigated upon.[irp]
It was very difficult to identify the nationalities of the victims and it took many days to complete the process. It has been established now that out of total 111 causalities, 25 pilgrims belonged to Bangladesh, 23 from Egypt, 15 from Pakistan and 11 Indonesia and 11 from Iran. A total of 394 people were injured out of which 51 belonged to Pakistan, 42 from Indonesia and 32 from Iran. King Salman, declared SR 1 million for each martyred in the crane incident and SR 500,000 for each injured pilgrim. Recommended: King Salman declares SR 1 million for each martyred and SR 500,000 for each injured[irp]
The tragedy occurred at around 5 p.m. due to the heavy rains and strong winds, which caused a part of the construction crane to collide with part of the Grand Mosque in which Pilgrims perform Tawaf and walk between Safa and Marwa. Mansouri has stated that the Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Naif, Interior Minister, Deputy Premier and the Chairman of the Supreme Hajj Committee, along with Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, the Chairman of the Central Hajj Committee has been closely following up on the proceedings of the accident right from the moment it occurred.
Videos emerged on the video sharing portal, YouTube, which showed people scurrying and screaming around after a huge crash can be heard and fog can be seen engulfing the city. The crane which crashed or broken was one of the largest cranes in the entire MEA region. The biggest expansion project in the History of the Grand Mosque had been in its final stages, which planned to expand the mosque by 400,000 square meters, hence allowing the mosque to host up to 2.2 million people at any given time.
14 people involved in the negligent act of not taking proper safety measures are under trial. However, the court has dismissed any charges of criminal intent of the suspects. These 14 suspects are still under court trial. Just after the incident, Saudi Bin Ladin group was banned by Saudi government from bidding any of the future government projects. However, later, these sanctions were removed by King Salman. All the people who were injured during the crane incident and could not perform Hajj during 2015, could stay in the Kingdom on government expenses and allowed to performed Hajj during the year 2016.