(MENAFN - Arab News) The committee probing the Ain Dar wedding tragedy in Abqaiq will investigate "the laxity" of the Civil Defense, Saudi Electricity Co. and the Red Crescent in handling the accident, an informed source said.
At a wedding party in Ain Dar in the Eastern Province, 26 people were electrocuted when a snapped high tension power cable fell over the building Tuesday.
It was the local custom of shooting to celebrate wedding that caused the crash of the cable. Relatives of the victims complained about the failure of Civil Defense, the Saudi Electricity Co. and the Red Crescent to handle the situation professionally. This in turn led to the increase in the number of casualties, Al-Eqtisadiah daily reported yesterday.
Eastern Province Gov. Prince Muhammad bin Fahd ordered a committee to investigate the tragedy.
The charges under investigation, according to the source, include the delay of the Saudi Electricity Co. officials to arrive at the accident site. The relatives alleged that two hours after the accident an official of the electricity company arrived, but he did not do anything to disconnect the live cable that fell on the hall where there were 6,000 people present. The relatives said if the power supply was cut off immediately after the cable snapped the number of deaths would not have been this high.
The relatives also alleged that the Civil Defense team that first arrived at the site was incapable of dealing with the situation. The team was so unprofessional that they pumped water on the burning steel door, which had powerful electrical charge. The water made the situation extremely dangerous, the relatives of the victims said.
"The water pumped by the Civil Defense pushed the men who were struggling to rescue the women and children trapped inside the wedding hall toward the deadly door and caused more electrocutions," they alleged. The puddles of water at the accident site also proved to be fatal with electric charge.
Director of Eastern Province Civil Defense Maj.Gen. Abdullah Al-Khoshman denied the charge in an earlier statement that the rescue teams handled the situation in an unprofessional manner.
Relatives also complained that the Red Crescent were 90 minutes late to arrive and they had to take the victims to hospital in their own cars.
Red Crescent spokesman Fahd Al-Ghamdi denied the charge. He said the first ambulance arrived at the accident site 10 minutes after the accident.