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Sunday, June 20, 2021

Qatar court hears first witnesses in deadly Texas A&M explosion trial

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Texas A&M at Qatar
Texas A&M at Qatar

An investigation into last year’s deadly explosion inside a Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ) laboratory has spurred authorities to file criminal charges against an engineer, as well as the company that supplied the equipment believed to have caused the blast.

The blast caused the death of Egyptian expat Hassan Kamal Hussein, who was working alone in a third-floor petroleum engineering lab at TAMUQ around midday on May 28, 2014.

An autopsy determined that the laboratory coordinator suffered fatal head and neck wounds in the explosion, according to a report in Al Sharq.

The scene at TAMUQ the day of the May 2014 explosion.
The scene at TAMUQ the day of the May 2014 explosion.

The piece of equipment that Hussein was working on at the time of the blast was a model that produced petrol from natural gas.

It is now at the center of a criminal trial that heard from its first witnesses earlier this week, according to a source who attended the court session.

According to the prosecutor, this equipment – which was supplied by Intervision, the Industrial Area-based company that is currently on trial – had a mechanical fault that caused it to leak natural gas.

The other defendant, an engineer, is accused of improperly attempting to fix the leak the day before the explosion. He’s also alleged to have overtightened several fasteners when re-assembling the machine.

“The wrongdoing of (this) defendant is what led to the explosion,” the prosecutor charged. “There was a direct relationship between him and the accident.”

It was not clear from this week’s court session who the engineer was working for at the time of the blast.

Both defendants are charged with involuntary manslaughter and have pled not guilty.

Email warning

During Sunday’s hearing, a defense attorney focused on an email sent by the faculty’s chairman two days before the explosion, which advised staff not to conduct any experiments using the machinery in question.

The scene at TAMUQ the day of the May 2014 explosion.
The scene at TAMUQ the day of the May 2014 explosion.

The chairman, who was called as a witness, told the court that the equipment was still being installed.

Citing another witness who aided in the investigation, the prosecutor said that one day before the explosion, the defendant entered the lab without the knowledge of the school’s administration to perform his allegedly ill-fated repairs on the equipment.

Also during Sunday’s session, witnessed discussed Hussein’s responsibilities and duties in the lab where the explosion occurred.

In court, one of his colleagues testified that the deceased’s responsibilities included supervising the device’s installation.

The witness, a petrochemical engineer, added that Hussein was not authorized to conduct any experiments with the equipment.

Nevertheless, using the machinery before it was completely connected to the lab apparatus should not have led to an explosion, the witness said.

The next hearing is scheduled for May 24.

Thoughts?

11 COMMENTS

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Michkey
Michkey
6 years ago

These people are supposed to be the few of the smartest people on earth and what we have here, compromisation of a simple safety issue!
Last week, TAMU-Q organised an ‘industry showcase event’ where a question was raised in certain panel discussion that why TAMU-Q does not get the best brains around to do significant research. No satisfactory answer was provided and I suppose there wasn’t one without utterly “disheartening” the local industrialists and officials sitting in the audience!

CAF
CAF
6 years ago
Reply to  Michkey

It comes down to real access to research money & quality of life. The research money that is often talked about in Qatar is not that easily attainable – especially secretive commercially viable research. Additionally do researchers of this calibre want to move to Qatar with their families? Researchers at that level are in demand and they have a choice of where they can, and want, to live and work.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  CAF

Additionally researchers might have tenure with certain institutions or have placed a high value on their current associations, institutional, academic or otherwise.

CAF
CAF
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

Exactly, this is the point – there are other factors at play. If you’ve tenure, your at a good university, you have a good team, a growing reputation, exciting research projects and, if you are an expat or a resident, your family feel apart of the local community and enjoying living where they are what is going to draw you to Qatar full time that is attractive enough to take you away from this? You need more than just research buildings facilities and cash.

Michkey
Michkey
6 years ago
Reply to  CAF

Precisely!

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  CAF

Some do but not that many.

Xee
Xee
6 years ago
Reply to  Michkey

Some times smarties do such silly stupid mistakes which you can’t even imagine.

H
H
6 years ago

Our world is highly connected. High calibre researchers don’t need to relocate to work on projects. Global teams are now the norm in industry or academia. That is the crucx of most QNRF funded research were PI could be from global research organizations or universities, as long as local content is there. Also, QSTP has research organizations producing commercially viable products with local and global research teams. No need to devalue a very successful regional experiment in the form of QF and QSTP

Xee
Xee
6 years ago

I clearly see a safety breach here as the deceased person tried to do something with no supervision.

Dominic James
Dominic James
6 years ago

That’s Egyptcian, he wants to proof sturborn that he is an expact without knowledge for promotion #

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Dominic James

And where ever you’re from the obviously don’t teach spelling.

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