The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Tuesday, 15 October 2019 00:00cat

Hard Rock Casino Hotel collapses in New Orleans: 2 fatalities

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Hard Rock Casino Hotel, a building under construction located at the corner of Rampart and Canal Street in New Orleans, partially collapsed killing 2 people and injuring at least 18 more.

The hotel was under construction for almost a year. The failure occurred on October 12, 2019, in the building's upper floors. At that time, about 100 workers were inside the structure.

Debris fell on the streets near the iconic French Quarter. Witnesses that were nearby the scene described the moment of the collapse: “We saw, all of a sudden, just this thick cloud of white smoke and metal falling. You couldn’t see in front of you and it lasted 30 seconds, maybe a minute,” Sarah Fischer, an employee at a Jewelry shop on Canal Street, said.

Currently, only a part of the structure is considered stable. According to Tim McConnell, New Orleans Fire Department Superintendent, another failure could occur in the following hours. For this reason, nearby buildings were quickly evacuated. Mr. McConnel stated that the damage was similar to that of an earthquake. 

At the same time, an 82,3-meter height crane is prone to collapse, a fact that highly affects the rescue operations. John Bel Edwards, Louisiana Governor, urged people to avoid visiting the area. “This remains a very fluid and very dangerous situation. Every few minutes something is falling off of this building,” he stated.

Due to the unfavorable circumstances, rescue teams entered the building hours after the collapse. According to officials, 20 people were hospitalized and are currently stable but, unfortunately, 2 people died (their identities have not been released yet). Furthermore, some people who were nearby the site visited the hospital on their own.

The causes of the failure have not been identified yet and a thorough investigation will be launched. Hard Rock International stated that it was not involved in the hotel construction as it was under a licensing agreement. The firm's officials expressed their sincere condolences to the victims of the failure: "We want to extend our deepest sympathies to victims of this tragic accident and to their loved ones and friends,” they stated.

Click the video below to watch the moment of the collapse caught on camera.

Moreover, here you can find drone footage of the building's current condition.

Sources: CNN NYtimes Theguardian Reuters


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