Update: New Orleans deals with fallout of Hard Rock collapse

An under-construction Hard Rock Hotel partially collapsed in New Orleans Saturday, Oct. 12, leaving two dead and one person still missing as of Friday. Photo credit: f11photo/Shutterstock

In order to prevent further damage from the partial collapse last weekend of an under-construction New Orleans Hard Rock Hotel, the City of New Orleans has plans to bring down two cranes at the construction site this weekend. The hotel partially collapsed Oct. 12, killing at least two persons, with a third missing and presumed dead, according to officials. Thirty people were injured in the incident, according to ABC News.

Until Wednesday, Oct. 16, the city’s response teams had been conducting search and rescue operations. According to Mayor LaToya Cantrell's office, the New Orleans Fire Department planned to go from rescue to recovery mode that evening should the third person not be found. NOFD Superintendent Tim McConnell said the worker’s chances of survival were nearly “zero” if rescuers did not report any signs of him.

On Friday, Oct. 18, the mayor’s office revealed engineers were planning to conduct a controlled demolition of the two cranes as early as Saturday afternoon, Oct. 19. According to CNN, the threat of a potential tropical storm played a role in the decision to demolish the cranes.

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“We are collaborating with the other fine response organizations, as well as the resilient people of New Orleans—our friends and neighbors for more than 27 years,” Hard Rock International said in a statement Tuesday, Oct. 15. “We are in communication with local partners and officials to ensure we take appropriate action where and as needed.”

Kailas Cos. owns the project, located at 1031 Canal St., and had contracted Citadel Builders to construct the hotel. On its website, Citadel Builders stated, “While we don't yet know what caused the accident at the Hard Rock site, we would like our clients, friends and the general public to rest assured that we are working with some of the finest engineering minds in the world and will get to the bottom of it.”

1031 Canal Development is the development company behind the project. In a statement, the group said, “The highest priority of the development team is the concern for the families involved. While there are many questions that are unanswerable at this juncture, our prayers and sympathies are with the good men and women who have been affected." The company noted that it does not conduct construction or engineering and it is working with authorities to monitor and assist in recovery activities. Mohan Kailas, the founder, president and owner of Kailas Cos., is the majority owner of 1031 Canal Development.

Kailas Cos. did not respond to a call from Hotel Management seeking comment.

Hard Rock also extended its sympathies to those affected by the incident. “Our hearts and minds remain with those impacted, and we are grateful for the leadership from the offices of Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Councilwoman Kristin Palmer."

Hard Rock International, the future manager of the hotel, said in a statement, it “had no involvement in the construction of the project.”

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