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2 Workers Tragically Killed, Another Missing in New Orleans After Hard Rock Hotel Collapses During Construction


A Hard Rock Hotel under construction in New Orleans, Louisiana, partially collapsed yesterday morning, tragically killing at least two workers, leaving one missing, and injuring dozens of others.

Hard Rock Hotel Collapse Sent Debris onto Busy Canal Street

The October 12th disaster unfolded shortly after 9:00 a.m. at the corner of Rampart and Canal Street, a six-lane boulevard lined with shops, hotels, and restaurants bordering the famous French Quarter.

The collapse destroyed the Hard Rock Hotel’s top six floors and sent a cascade of metal and debris pouring onto the busy street below, forcing cars and other vehicles to speed away from the scene.

“We saw, all of a sudden, just this thick cloud of white smoke and metal falling,” an employee at Fischer’s Jewelry on Canal Street told The New York Times. “You couldn’t see in front of you and it lasted 30 seconds, maybe a minute.”

Injured Workers Number in “Double Digits”

About 112 construction workers were on site at the time. Three were unaccounted for immediately after the collapse, including two whose remains had been discovered by late Saturday evening. Their bodies have not been recovered, as authorities are awaiting the arrival of cranes capable of removing the collapsed portions of the dangerously unstable building.

“Remember, we have first responders going into a very dangerous building right now, trying to do their job,” Collin Arnold, the city’s director of homeland security and emergency preparedness, said during a during a media briefing last night.

Paramedics transferred 18 injured workers to local hospitals. While only one of those individuals remained hospitalized as of last night, authorities have since confirmed that additional construction workers in the “double digits” later arrived at New Orleans and Jefferson Parish hospitals on their own.

Fortunately, pedestrians and motorists on the surrounding streets managed to escape the Hard Rock Hotel collapse unharmed.

Parts of Canal, Bienville, and Burgundy Streets Evacuated

The situation in New Orleans remained precarious on Sunday morning, due to the instability of the hotel, as well as a 270-foot crane that is still in danger of falling.

Within hours of the Hard Rock Hotel collapse, authorities had issued a mandatory evacuation order for the uptown side of Bienville Street, the downtown side of Canal Street, and the lakeside of Burgundy Street.

Unfortunately, engineers will need time to stabilize the site.

“This is not a short-term event,” New Orleans fire chief, Timothy McConnell, warned yesterday afternoon. “It is a marathon.”

So far, the cause of the disaster remains a mystery. While inspectors from the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration were onsite by Saturday night, crews remain focused on recovering the dead and locating the missing worker.

Hard Rock Hotel Project in New Orleans Troubled from the Start

The Hard Rock Hotel has been under construction for at least a year, and was scheduled to open in the spring.

The building was designed in 2010 by Harry Baker Smith Architects II, which also worked on the Trump Tower New Orleans and Hilton New Orleans. The Hard Rock’s plans call for 350 guest rooms, two ballrooms, 12,000 square feet of event space, and residential spaces.

According to Fox News, yesterday’s tragedy wasn’t the project’s first setback.

In fact, the Hard Rock Hotel initially drew controversy in 2011, when New Orleans officials approved zoning waivers for extra height. The project then fell behind schedule when its developer received a prison sentence for overbilling the government.

Assessors have valued the 40,448 square-foot site at more than $4 million. Ownership has switched between six LLCs in just the past 10 years, including four times in 2017 for $0.

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