An under-construction hotel has collapsed in New Orleans, killing two people and injuring 30 others.
Authorities responded just after 9am (local time) on Saturday to the Hard Rock Hotel in downtown New Orleans, where the upper-six to -eight floors of the building had collapsed, Fire Department superintendent Tim McConnell said.
Video below shows the moment the building collapses, sending dust and debris flying, as bystanders run in fear.
INCREDIBLE VIDEO: Viewer video from Michael Dalle captures the moment the construction site for the Hard Rock Hotel collapsed on Canal Street Saturday morning. No injuries reported. Stay with WWL-TV for more. pic.twitter.com/AxkbniBrZI
— WWL-TV (@WWLTV) October 12, 2019
Mayor LaToya Cantrell said on Sunday evening (local time) one body had been removed from the site to be identified by the coroner’s office. One other is still unfounded, while another deceased is yet to be removed.
Thirty individuals have been injured and evaluated at hospitals, with all but one discharged, city officials advised.
Emergency officials are actively working to stabilise and secure a 270-foot crane on site, which they feared could collapse.
“Our goal here is to continue to make the scene safe, so we can continue getting into this building, deeper and deeper, for rescue purposes,” McConnell told reporters.
On Sunday, a statement from the project contractor, obtained by AP News, said its representatives would work “throughout the night” with emergency officials on a plan to stabilise the building.
For some, shaken by the collapse of the building, the scene recalled memories of the 11 September terrorist attacks.
“I’m not sure what happened, but they told us to get out of here,” Michael Arbeiter, 30, from Munich, Germany, told AP News.
Arbeiter said he was just getting out of the shower when his room shook.
“Thank God it was not another 9/11,” he said.
Sue Hurley, a 68-year-old guest at a hostel across the street that shuddered with the force of the collapse, said she thought the noise she heard was “a plane crashing”.
Hard Rock International issued a statement, obtained by AP News, expressing sympathy for victims and their families.
The statement said the company had a licensing agreement with the building’s owner, Kailas Companies, and Hard Rock was not involved in the construction.
A statement issued to AP News on behalf of 1031 Canal – a corporate entity identified as the developer of the project – said the developer would work with authorities and the contractor to determine the cause of the collapse.
The 18-story Hard Rock Hotel New Orleans, just blocks away from the New Orleans Ernest N Memorial Convention Centre, was scheduled to open in spring 2019.
Along with 350 rooms, the Hard Rock Hotel New Orleans will have 62 residences, two restaurants and coffee shop, a pool bar and lobby bar, and 12,000 square feet of event space, among other features.
Featured image: Hard Rock Hotel collapses/Twitter (@WWLTV)