The Fiji Times

Hotel collapse kills one


NEW ORLEANS — A large section of a Hard Rock Hotel under constructi­on beside New Orleans’ historic French Quarter collapsed on Saturday amid blinding dust and flying debris, killing one person and injuring more than 20. Rescue workers searched the largely unstable building until nightfall for two people still unaccounte­d for.

Nearby buildings were evacuated. A 270-foot (82m) constructi­on crane — one of two still looming over the multistory building — also was dangerousl­y unstable, fire officials said. The hunt for the missing was suspended at nightfall over safety concerns. A statement from the project contractor said its representa­tives would work “throughout the night” with emergency officials on a plan to stabilise the building.

“I heard a huge noise and thought it was a plane crashing,” said Sue Hurley, a 68-year-old guest at a hostel across the street that shuddered with the force of the collapse.

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