Search resumes for worker missing in New Orleans Hard Rock Hotel building site collapse that killed 2

A construction site for the future Hard Rock Hotel collapsed, closing several city blocks and sparking a mandatory evacuation

Posted: Oct 14, 2019 3:40 AM
Updated: Oct 14, 2019 3:40 AM

Rescuers resumed searching Sunday for a worker trapped in rubble after a deadly construction collapse in New Orleans, officials said, but the building's instability is making for a precarious situation.

"As you start to move debris, you've got to make sure that everything is shored up," New Orleans Fire Department Superintendent Tim McConnell said, asking for patience as teams work to ensure the structure is safe.

Two people were killed in Saturday's collapse and at least 30 people were hospitalized, authorities said. All but one of the injured have been discharged, they said.

One body had been removed from the site but has not yet been identified, Mayor LaToya Cantrell told reporters Sunday evening.

Crews were working to remove the second body, she said.

The mayor visited the last hospitalized victim at University Medical Center, she said. He is in stable condition after undergoing surgery on his femur Saturday, his family is en route to New Orleans and he is "in the best of spirits that he can be in," the mayor said.

"People matter, and he was an employee on the eighth floor. Happened very fast," Cantrell said. "As he was talking to me, tears were, of course, in his eyes."

Rescue operation is top priority

Crews had suspended the search for the missing worker, but McConnell said Sunday that teams had entered multiple times into the work site today as the search continued.

"Until we know different, we will stay in the rescue mode," he said. "Obviously, life safety is always our No. 1 priority."

A crane brought in early Sunday to help stabilize the structure and facilitate response operations was being set up late Sunday morning.

The crane was on a job site in Baton Rouge, and it received a special police escort to New Orleans, McConnell said. It generally takes three hours to erect a crane, which weighs about 110 tons, he said.

Several engineers have also been brought in, while others — including one traveling from Germany and slated to arrive Sunday evening — are on their way to the site.

More than 100 people were working on the soon-to-be Hard Rock Hotel near the city's historic French Quarter when the building gave way, Citadel Builders spokesman Brian Trascher said in a statement.

"Citadel representatives remain engaged and will be working with the City and engineering experts throughout the night and until a solution can be implemented," the statement from the company, which was the general contractor over the project, said.

Authorities have not said what caused the collapse, but Cantrell promised a "relentless" investigation into the incident. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration would join the probe once rescue efforts were complete, she said.

Two dead, at least 18 injured

Video footage of the building crashing to the ground shows workers emerging from a cloud of dust after the building's upper floors collapse, leaving debris littering the street below.

Mandatory evacuations in the surrounding areas were issued Saturday as city officials said the building was stable but unsupported, CNN affiliate WDSU reported.

There was a strong possibility of further collapse, McConnell said Saturday. He compared Saturday's damage to that of an earthquake.

A crane weighing several tons that was attached to the building was unstable and could also collapse, McConnell said.

"All residents should continue to stay away from the area, and to heed the street closures and traffic warnings," Cantrell said in a tweet Saturday night. "We appreciate the public's response and support, and we are praying for the victims and their families."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 94021

Reported Deaths: 2846
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6979155
DeSoto542555
Harrison374372
Jackson339967
Madison321286
Rankin319375
Lee261067
Jones242778
Forrest239570
Washington218171
Lafayette209239
Lauderdale2007124
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Oktibbeha175450
Lamar163534
Neshoba1540103
Panola144527
Sunflower142144
Lowndes140357
Warren138150
Leflore137080
Pontotoc123616
Pike121348
Monroe118965
Scott116425
Copiah116333
Coahoma112827
Holmes109258
Marshall107615
Lincoln106853
Grenada106235
Yazoo103929
Simpson101443
Union97824
Tate95537
Leake94037
Adams92136
Wayne87721
Pearl River86750
Marion84133
Prentiss81517
Covington80922
Alcorn77511
Itawamba77021
Newton75923
Tallahatchie75718
George75113
Winston72519
Tishomingo66137
Chickasaw65624
Tippah64516
Attala64125
Walthall59425
Clay58117
Hancock56421
Jasper55515
Noxubee54315
Clarke53739
Smith52414
Calhoun50612
Tunica48113
Montgomery45520
Claiborne45216
Lawrence42512
Yalobusha41814
Perry40918
Quitman3755
Humphreys37315
Stone35711
Greene34617
Webster33113
Jefferson Davis32811
Carroll31212
Amite31110
Wilkinson30217
Kemper28615
Sharkey26312
Jefferson2439
Benton2201
Franklin1893
Choctaw1795
Issaquena1033
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 131988

Reported Deaths: 2304
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19123337
Mobile13122290
Montgomery8688173
Madison763075
Tuscaloosa7323114
Lee575159
Shelby571950
Baldwin508749
Marshall387943
Calhoun337439
Etowah336547
Morgan321426
Houston272722
Elmore255847
DeKalb237119
St. Clair224335
Walker224380
Talladega207726
Limestone200119
Cullman186218
Dallas174926
Franklin174528
Russell17312
Autauga169124
Lauderdale165333
Colbert160926
Escambia156425
Blount156014
Jackson151611
Chilton150227
Dale133343
Covington131127
Coffee12838
Pike11619
Tallapoosa113683
Chambers113242
Clarke105517
Marion94828
Butler91138
Barbour8387
Winston71612
Marengo70119
Lowndes64927
Pickens63814
Bibb63610
Randolph62212
Hale61528
Lawrence59220
Bullock59114
Geneva5814
Monroe5768
Cherokee56916
Clay5527
Washington54913
Perry5386
Wilcox53111
Conecuh52411
Crenshaw52331
Macon47820
Henry4754
Fayette4269
Sumter41819
Lamar3532
Choctaw34512
Cleburne3326
Greene30015
Coosa1653
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