2 dead, one missing after Hard Rock Hotel construction site collapses in New Orleans

 nbcnews.com  10/13/2019 04:38:00  3

Two were dead and one person remained missing Saturday night after the collapse of a Hard Rock Hotel under construction in New Orleans.

Officials tweeted about the second fatality late Saturday, saying the search and rescue operation would resume Sunday morning.

The under-construction building collapsed Saturday about 9 a.m., when one person was pronounced dead at the site.

Its a very dangerous situation, Fire Superintendent Timothy McConnell said, adding that the building was unstable.

The fire department evacuated several buildings near the hotel.

The @NOLAFireDept is evacuating buildings in the red zone bounded by the Uptown side of Bienville, River side of Basin, Downtown Side of Canal and Lake side of Burgundy. If you are in this area, evacuate now and listen to public safety officials! Orange area closed to traffic.  pic.twitter.com/kFEreeuGOv

 NOLA Ready (@nolaready) October 12, 2019

Eighteen people were taken to the hospital in stable condition. EMS Director Emily Nichols said at a news conference Saturday afternoon that some of them have been released and several others transported themselves to the hospital. One person who was injured refused medical treatment.

The upper floors of the building began to fall on top of each other before one side of the building fell to the ground below, The Associated Press reported.

"This remains a very fluid and very dangerous situation, and every few minutes something is falling off of this building," Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said at a news conference Saturday morning.

The city's fire department posted photos on Twitter showing the roof and several floors partially destroyed with a large pile of debris scattered on the street below.

Witnesses recounted the moment the building collapsed.

Fallon Leigh O'Brien said she was riding on a streetcar near the hotel when debris started falling.

"It looked like sheetrock. A few pieces first, and then the whole building started to fall," she said. "All of a sudden the entire intersection was engulfed in dust and debris, and people were coughing."

Carl Cole said he initially mistook the sound of the falling hotel for a low-flying airplane.

"We were kind of shocked when we realized what had happened," he said. "Then you look at how much concrete and rubble and you were concerned for the laborers, the hard hats in there."

Image: Minyvonne BurkeMinyvonne Burke

Minyvonne Burkeis a breaking news reporter for NBC News.

Gabe Samandi contributed.
« Go back