Sandstorm brings down flag from world’s tallest flagpole

The giant Saudi flag proudly flutters atop the world's tallest flagpole in this picture taken on Oct. 15, 2014.

The giant Saudi flag proudly flutters atop the world’s tallest flagpole in this picture taken on Oct. 15, 2014.

The giant Saudi flag hoisted onto the world’s tallest flagpole was brought down by powerful winds amid a sandstorm in Jeddah on Friday afternoon.

Pictures of the flag that was ripped off the pole were posted on social media by passersby. The flagpole, however, did not seem to be damaged.

Hoisted on Sept. 23, 2014, during the country’s 84th National Day, the flag is 49.5 meters long, 33 meters wide, 1,635 square meters and weighs 570 kilograms.

The 170-meter-high flagpole is located at the 26,000-square-meter King Abdullah Square on the intersection of Andalus Road and King Abdullah Road in Jeddah.

Sharif Al-Bahhar, an engineer involved in the project, had been quoted in published reports during the inaugural rites as saying the flagpole is made from 500 tons of steel in a cylindrical shape with sufficient width to accommodate the service units of the project, and allow workers to climb to the top for maintenance.

Sharif Al-Bahhar, engineer of the project

He said the facilities incorporated into the project include a unit to gauge the wind direction and speed, atmospheric humidity, volume of rain and for the aircraft-warning light.

“Separate units would absorb the shock of the flutter and ensure the stability of the pole, which is fire resistance,” he said.

Maintenance personnel at the square, however, apparently underestimated the strength of Friday’s winds and failed to bring down the flag on time, say observers.

The fallen giant flag is shown in this picture posted on Twitter on Friday by a citizen.

The fallen giant flag is shown in this picture posted on Twitter on Friday by a citizen.

 
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