One dead and two missing after hotel collapse in New Orleans  10/12/2019 21:56:00 

One person has died and two people are missing after a Hard Rock Hotel under construction at the edge of New Orleans’ historic French Quarter collapsed.

Approximately 20 others were injured while a man who had been unaccounted for turned out to have been at a local hospital.

Fire Chief Tim McConnell says rescue workers hope to find them alive when they are able to enter the building.

The hotel was under construction at the corner of Rampart Street and Canal Street, a broad boulevard just outside the Quarter, lined with restaurants hotels and retailers.

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.

— NOLA Ready (@nolaready) October 12, 2019

Canal Street, which carries six lanes of traffic, separates the Quarter from the city’s main business district.

WWL-TV aired and tweeted a viewer’s dramatic video of the collapse, showing upper floors falling on top of each other before one side of the building toppled to the ground.

Another video on social media was taken by someone aboard one of the city’s famous streetcars as it approached the site while the building was collapsing.

It showed what looked like a metal structure – part of the building or a piece of construction equipment – tumbling to the ground and people running from the scene as clouds of dust billowed up and around the streetcar, obscuring the view like a thick fog.

Debris hangs on the side of the building (David Grunfeld/The Advocate/AP)
Debris hangs on the side of the building (David Grunfeld/The Advocate/AP)

Authorities say 20 people were taken to hospital for treatment. All were considered stable.

Evacuees included guests at a hostel across the street.

“I heard a huge noise and thought it was a plane crashing. Then, the hostel shook,” guest Sue Hurley, 68, told The Associated Press.

She said she was reminded of news accounts of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “The noise was as strong as the 9/11 crash. The dust was as thick.”

Another hostel guest, Michael Arbeiter, 30, from Germany, said he was just getting out of the shower when the room shook.

“I’m not sure what happened but they told us to get out of here,” he said. “I’m supposed to stay until Monday. Thank God it was not another 9/11.”

NOW: @Louisianagov briefs public following the partial collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel construction site in New Orleans. #lagov #lalege

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— John Bel Edwards (@LouisianaGov) October 12, 2019
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