NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -The Hard Rock Hotel partially collapsed Saturday morning (Oct. 12) onto Canal St. in New Orleans.
The New Orleans Fire Deptartment and the New Orleans Police Department are on scene. They ceased rescue operations for the day around 7 p.m.
NOFD Chief Tim McConnell confirmed one person was killed on scene and two others are unaccounted for. They are all contractors. Authorities originally believed three people were missing, but one turned up at the hospital.
Officials said an additional 29 people needed medical attention. That number could increase. McConnell said they are all in stable condition. Some of the people have been released from the hospital.
McConnell said urban search and rescue teams are on scene and nearby buildings are being evacuated. He says a large crane is unstable and further collapse is possible.
Search and Rescue teams are attempting to reach areas where they believe people may be in the building. The city is meeting with crane owner and other agencies to see how to possibly reach those who might be trapped.
“This is not a short term event, this is a marathon,” McConnell said.
Mayor Latoya Cantrell, who has been in Copenhagen this week, cut her trip short to make her way back to New Orleans after receiving news about the collapse.
She released a statement Saturday night, saying, “Today’s collapse was a tragedy, and our hearts break for the loss of life,” said Cantrell. “Our focus is on continuing to secure the site and to doing everything we can to support the families impacted as rescue efforts continue. All residents should continue to stay away from the area, and to heed the street closures and traffic warnings. We appreciate the public’s response and support, and we are praying for the victims and their families.”
The hotel was slated to open in the Spring of 2020.
The 350 rooms for hotel guests, in addition to 62 one and two-bedroom units available for purchase.
Witnesses said they could feel the building shake as the crane came down. The historic Saenger Theater was also damaged. City officials said the building has a hole in the roof.
“This will be a traffic issue for sure on Monday,” Colin Arnold of Homeland Security for the City of New Orleans said.
Hard Rock International released a statement saying, “Citadel Builders LLC was contracted by Kailas Companies, owner of the project, to build the Hard Rock Hotel based on a brand licensing agreement with Hard Rock International, the future manager of the hotel. Hard Rock has had no involvement in the construction of the project. We want to extend our deepest sympathies to victims of this tragic accident and to their loved ones and friends.”
Citadel Builders LLS later released their statement on the collapsed of the hotel.
“At Citadel Builders, we continue to process the tragic events that took place at our Hard Rock Hotel site in New Orleans Saturday morning. Our hearts are broken over the loss of life and for those injured, and our prayers are with them as well as their families. While spending much of the day trying to account for the whereabouts of the more than 100 workers who were on site at the time, we also engaged with local emergency officials to coordinate a plan to secure the building in a manner that is safe for the SAR team to enter. As a company, our priority has always been commited to the safety of our employees, our subcontractors, and everyone associated with our construction site. As already stated by New Orleans Fire Department, eighteen people were taken to local hospitals. Tragically, one fatality has been confirmed, and two individuals remain missing at this time. The next steps are very delicate, as one of the cranes needs to be secured before SAR can enter the building and stabilization can occur. Citadel representatives remain engaged and will be working with the City and engineering experts throughout the night and until a solution can be implemented. We would also like to recognize the efforts of the New Orleans first responders and officials from the Mayor’s office who have worked with us closely to secure the safety of the site and neighborhood.”
N. Rampart Street is closed to vehicles from St. Louis to Canal.
This story will be updated.