Last Saturday, we reported on the New Orleans hotel construction collapse. The incident happened at the construction site of the Hard Rock Hotel. At the time of the incident, officials reported that 1 person was killed, 3 people were missing, and an additional 18 sustained injuries during the collapse. Now, the count of those who received treatment for injuries is up to 30. All patients have been discharged from the hospital except for one man who needed emergency surgery.
The Search for the Missing Continues
Authorities have recovered one missing person’s body and have located the remains of a second. The last missing person is believed to be in an unstable portion of the collapsed building. Engineers are currently working to stabilize the building. On Sunday evening, a crane was set up to help stabilize a part of the building, enabling crews to locate the remains of one of the missing individuals. The crane was brought in from Baton Rouge using a police escort. Several engineers are also at the scene of the incident to assist with stabilization efforts.
Family members of the person pulled from the rubble identified his body on Sunday night. Now, responders are trying to locate the last person. New Orleans Fire Department Superintendent Tim McConnell gave an update on the rescue efforts on Monday morning.
"It is still a very, very dangerous building, a dangerous situation," McConnell said. "That tower is still heavily damaged and unsecured, and we're a long way from being in a safe mode."
The Investigation So Far
Currently, a crane that was attached to the collapsed structure is unstable and is still at risk of collapsing. Officials have shut down streets and evacuated residents from areas at risk of damage from the crane. As they work to stabilize the building, McConnell confirmed that crews would remain in “rescue mode” while prioritizing safety. Mayor LaToya Cantrell urged residents to stay away from the area in a Tweet on Saturday.
"All residents should continue to stay away from the area, and to heed the street closures and traffic warnings," Cantrell wrote. "We appreciate the public's response and support, and we are praying for the victims and their families."
The Hard Rock Hotel was being constructed by Citadel Builders. Brian Trascher, a spokesman for the company, released a statement addressing Saturday's incident.
"Citadel representatives remain engaged and will be working with the City and engineering experts throughout the night and until a solution can be implemented," the statement read.
Currently, authorities have not been able to identify what caused the accident. Some are accusing contractors of using low-quality concrete, while others think that a crane may have swung into the building. However, these speculations have yet to receive any confirmation. Mayor Cantrell promised a “relentless” investigation into the incident, which will be assisted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Arnold & Itkin's construction accident lawyers are closely monitoring this situation will continue to watch any developments with recover efforts and the investigation of this tragic collapse.