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2 dead, 1 missing; cleanup could take weeks


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Terrifying video shows the moment the Hard Rock Hotel collapsed in downtown New Orleans, crashing onto Canal Street.
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Two days after the partial collapse of a high-rise Hard Rock hotel under construction in New Orleans’ French Quarter, rescuers continued to search the building for a missing worker.

“It’s still a very, very dangerous building, a very dangerous situation,” said Chief Timothy McConnell of the New Orleans Fire Department, which is leading the rescue. “That tower is still heavily damaged and unsecured.”

Two men were confirmed killed in the collapse. The body of one of those victims was removed Sunday night, while a second remains in the building. The New Orleans Coroner has not yet released the names of the deceased or the person still missing. 

The danger did not end after the initial collapse Saturday morning as a 270-foot, multi-ton crane on top of the building became unsecured and threatened to topple. Another crane was moved into the area Sunday to stabilize it.

Witness account: ‘Mind boggling’ Hard Rock hotel construction collapse in New Orleans

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Welder David Hensley was inside the Hard Rock Hotel construction when it collapsed in New Orleans on Oct. 12, 2019.
Andrew J. Yawn, Montgomery Advertiser

Dozens of workers were injured when the top six to eight floors of the hotel under construction collapsed around 9 a.m. Saturday, sending debris cascading onto Rampart Street. Eighteen workers were transported to the hospital and several others transported themselves for treatment. Only one worker remains hospitalized and in stable condition. No bystanders were injured.

As engineering crews rushed to stabilize a listing crane and avoid further collapses, the blocks around the site were closed to traffic.

Hard Rock hotel construction collapses in New Orleans:  2 dead, 1 missing

Neither the building nor the crane, McConnell said, have moved since Saturday.

As of Monday morning, nine nearby businesses still had no gas or electricity and 37 area families had been forced to relocate to hotels, according to Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

The roof of the Saenger Theater, directly across Rampart Street, was pierced with falling debris, according to the City, and all performances of the musical “Wicked,” set to run until Oct. 20, were canceled.

Cantrell urged patience because it could take weeks or even months to clean up the area, explaining, “This structure is not stable. We want people to stay away from the area. How we touch it – it just matters.”

The Hard Rock construction project, she said, was last inspected by the city on Sept. 24.

The federal agency OSHA is already on the scene of the collapse. Once the NOFD ends its rescue operation, OSHA will take over and begin its investigation.

Contributing: Associated Press

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