From the news desk

Use of cranes stopped in Haram till Haj

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The use of cranes in the Grand Mosque expansion project has been suspended till Haj. The decision was taken in view of the Friday’s crane crash that killed 111 people and injured 331.

Hisham Al-Faleh, adviser to Makkah Emir Khaled Al-Faisal and chairman of the investigation committee, said all cranes will be thoroughly checked to ensure that they are installed properly.

Engineers from Saudi Aramco and Saudi Council of Engineers have been called by the committee to provide an independent opinion on the causes of the collapse and the best way to remove the remaining debris without causing more damage.

Al-Faleh said repair work has begun on large sections of the damaged area under the instruction of a technical committee from the Ministry of Education.

He said pats of the damaged area have been repaired, including the bridge for tawaf (circumambulation around the Kaaba) and a large portion of the Massa (where pilgrims walk seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwah)

According to Al-Faleh, much of the damaged area has been reopened. Only small parts of the Massa and the eastern plazas are still closed for pilgrims.

“We are waiting for a technical opinion on how to remove the crane resting on the Massa walls,” he said.

Three experts from Liebherr, the German company that supplied the crane, arrived in the Kingdom on Saturday, 24 hours after the tragedy.

A spokesman of the company, based in the German town of Biberach an der Riss, said the experts would supervise the removal of the crane without causing further damage, and would also advise on how best to reconstruct the crane.

He refused to reveal the price of the crane, but said it was sold to the Kingdom in 2012, and was part of a batch of 40 cranes supplied to a number of different countries. Saudi Gazette

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