NEW ORLEANS — Two people were missing after a Hard Rock Hotel under construction in New Orleans partially collapsed, killing one person and injuring more than a dozen others, city officials said.
“We are praying for the individuals who remain unaccounted for,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards told reporters on Saturday, Oct. 12. “It’s not proper to say they are trapped, because we don’t know.”
Dozens of construction workers emerged from a giant cloud of dust after the upper three floors of the building in downtown New Orleans came crashing down Saturday morning, a video showed.
Authorities said 18 people were injured. Several people taken to University Medical Center were stable, city officials said.
No pedestrians or motorists on the street were injured, said Tim McConnell, New Orleans Fire Department superintendent.
Crews at the site had been working on building a new 350-room Hard Rock Hotel, just steps away from the city’s historic French Quarter.
“The building is unstable, so a collapse is still possible — further collapse of the building,” McConnell said.
McConnell added that two people believed to be in the area of the building when it collapsed had not been located.
Several city blocks surrounding the area of Canal and Rampart streets were closed because a crane attached to the building was unstable and could also collapse. Authorities evacuated several nearby buildings and suspended the area’s streetcar service.
“Our biggest fear right now is the crane,” said McConnell. “It weighs several tons.”
It was not immediately clear what caused the collapse. Duplessis said structural engineers were currently assessing the structure.
The State Fire Marshal and Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 1 were assisting first responders, officials said.