A crawler crane tipped over backwards in stormy weather at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on Friday, killing more than 100 people and injuring more than 300. The crane was being used on the project to expand the holy site.

An inquiry has been launched into the collapse, which saw the crane’s boom break through the outer wall of the Mosque as it fell. The crane was a 1,350 tonne capacity Liebherr LR 11350 lattice boom crawler, operated by the main contractor for the expansion project, Saudi Binladen Group (SBG). The cause of the collapse has not been confirmed and SGB has not issued a statement on the accident.

A statement from Liebherr said, "Liebherr is extremely saddened by this tragic accident and the fatalities and injuries, and expresses its deep sympathy to the families of the victims. We hope that all persons injured will recover quickly. The crane that collapsed is a lattice boom crawler crane type LR 11350. As the crane manufacturer Liebherr will do everything in its power to help bring the accident investigation to a speedy and logical conclusion."

Saudi Arabia's Royal Court has ruled that SBG, the country's largest contractor, cannot be awarded any new contracts until the investigation is complete. It has also imposed a foreign travel ban on the company's board members and executives.

The current area of the Great Mosque is some 365,000 square metres and it can accommodate 770,000 pilgrims. The expansion project will increase the area to 465,000 m2 and allow for up to 1.2 million visitors. A further phase of expansion is expected to give the building a capacity for 2.2 million worshippers.

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