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 4:40 AM
Updated: Oct 14, 2019 4:40 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."

West Lafayette
Clear
42° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 37°
Kokomo
Clear
42° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 37°
Rensselaer
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 37°
Fowler
Clear
42° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 37°
Williamsport
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 33°
Crawfordsville
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 34°
Frankfort
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 34°
Delphi
Clear
38° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 32°
Monticello
Clear
38° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 32°
Logansport
Clear
° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: °
Tracking rain, thunder, strong winds & snow...
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1118335

Reported Deaths: 17712
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1455892240
Lake724831254
Allen67063882
Hamilton51060487
St. Joseph49820649
Elkhart40268546
Vanderburgh34714497
Tippecanoe30808276
Johnson27696467
Hendricks26313385
Porter25657386
Madison21131455
Clark20238279
Vigo19059309
LaPorte17192261
Howard16770314
Delaware16761303
Monroe16628220
Kosciusko14293167
Hancock13113186
Bartholomew12983190
Warrick12210190
Wayne12090269
Floyd12011226
Grant11998245
Morgan10409192
Boone9869124
Noble9316122
Henry9177169
Marshall9152147
Dearborn8970100
Dubois8835140
Shelby8281130
Cass8167128
Lawrence8057185
DeKalb7817109
Jackson770793
Huntington7661115
Gibson7102118
Montgomery7101123
Harrison6954100
Knox6915116
Steuben669089
Whitley659660
Miami6595113
Putnam645085
Clinton627179
Wabash6221111
Jasper613192
Jefferson5856105
Ripley557294
Adams542281
Daviess5076117
Scott491580
Wells4836105
White478469
Greene4701101
Clay464662
Decatur4611110
Fayette452496
Jennings452067
LaGrange427491
Posey410044
Randolph3944107
Washington390956
Fountain375964
Fulton364874
Spencer362247
Starke355574
Owen353577
Sullivan348555
Orange331372
Jay331050
Rush309533
Carroll296239
Franklin292744
Perry290553
Vermillion283658
Tipton251167
Parke250130
Pike248644
Blackford222144
Pulaski210359
Newton182452
Brown177550
Crawford169129
Benton168417
Martin152120
Switzerland147612
Warren135816
Union122616
Ohio92413
Unassigned0595

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events