Saudi Arabia has paid compensation to the families of seven Malaysian Hajj pilgrims who were killed when a crane collapsed at Makkah’s Grand Mosque in 2015.
The families were given 1 million Saudi riyals ($266,525) each, while those who were injured were given 500,000 riyals ($133,280) in compensation.
The money, which was presented to the families and victims by Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Malaysia, was granted as a personal contribution from King Salman.
“On behalf of the Malaysian Government, I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude particularly to His Majesty King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud for the empathy and attention given to the Malaysian pilgrims, especially the victims of the collapsed crane incident,” Malaysia’s Religious Affairs Minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa, said at the ceremony in Putrajaya.
Mujahid added that after investigations, Saudi authorities decided that only three injured Malaysian pilgrims were eligible for compensation payments.
“Prior to this, we have tried, through negotiation, to get the compensation for all Malaysian pilgrims involved, but they decided to give it to only three who were severely injured. That is their decision, not ours,” he said.
On Sept 11, 2015, a crawler crane toppled over onto the Grand Mosque in Makkah, killing 111 people and injuring over 230 others. The incident was caused by strong winds and heavy rains and the victims came from Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Turkey, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and Egypt.
The Binladin Group – the construction firm responsible for the cranes – said through its lawyers following the incident that they could not have predicted the severe thunderstorm that took place and violent winds that caused the collapse.
A Saudi court in 2017 cleared the Binladin Group of responsibility for the disaster.