At Hard Rock Hotel site, cranes at risk of falling but ‘rescue mission’ continues – NOLA.com

Rescue crews at the Hard Rock Hotel are focusing on an area facing North Rampart Street as they continue searching for a worker who went missing after Saturday morning’s deadly construction collapse, officials said Monday. 

New Orleans Fire Department Superintendent Tim McConnell on Monday said a second crane at the site of Saturday’s deadly Hard Rock Hotel construction collapse is heavily damaged, in addition to one previously reported. Both cranes are at risk of falling, increasing the risk associated with ongoing efforts to recover the body of one construction worker still on the site and to look for signs of the worker who is considered missing.

Officials asked the public to continue avoiding the area surrounding the corner of Canal and North Rampart streets. 

Mayor LaToya Cantrell and McConnell made it a point to call the effort “a rescue mission.” They also said crews were continuing efforts to recover the body of a second worker who died during the collapse and remains on the site of the under-construction hotel. 

The threat of further collapse at the Hard Rock Hotel construction site at Canal and North Rampart streets will leave a number of streets clos…

The Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office confirmed that Anthony Magrette was the worker who died at the site and whose body was removed from the site on Sunday. 

At a 10 a.m. news conference, Cantrell and McConnell said the city conducted a Sept. 24 inspection of the construction job but didn’t find anything that would have stopped the project from moving forward. They said federal inspectors have been on site since Saturday, though the investigation into the cause of the disaster will begin in earnest after search and rescue efforts conclude.

“This continues to be a rescue mission,” Cantrell said. “After everyone is removed, it will move into an investigative mode.”









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A drone flies over the crane where part of the Hard Rock Hotel collapsed in downtown New Orleans. The area surrounding the building was still closed on Monday, October 14, 2019.



Crews have also brought in two cranes that they hope can position equipment to stabilize the building and the damaged cranes on the site.

They are also prepared to drain a pool located on the upper floors of the site ahead of rain in the forecast, saying they want to prevent any added weight that could precipitate a second collapse. 

Crews are also relying on search dogs as well as listening and infrared equipment designed to help rescuers find people or bodies under rubble. 

McConnell said the efforts are risky because the site was drastically destabilized following the collapse. However, he said there are protocols to evacuate the building immediately in case another collapse appears imminent.

He also referred to engineers who were flown in from Europe by the project’s contractor, Citadel Builders, to advise rescuers on their efforts.

Gas and electric utilities to nine businesses in the area have been cut off, and at least 37 families who live nearby have been put up in hotels. While announcing news of the second damaged crane, officials slightly expanded the evacuation area surrounding the site to include buildings on the uptown side of Canal, from Elk Place to Burgundy Street.  


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New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said traffic near the site wasn’t as bad as it could have been on Monday because some schools and offices were closed due to Columbus Day. However, officials have warned motorists that traffic is expected to be heavy in that area for the foreseeable future, with some streets closed due to the fear of an additional collapse. 

North Rampart is closed from Conti to Common streets, and Canal is closed from Baronne to Saratoga streets. 

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