A large portion of a Hard Rock Hotel under construction in New Orleans collapsed Saturday morning, killing at least two people and injuring 20 others, authorities said. The building bordering the city's historic French Quarter is considered unstable and officials said further collapse is possible.
Three people were initially reported missing, though one has since been found, according to the New Orleans Fire Department. Authorities said no one on the ground was injured in the collapse.
According to Mayor LaToya Cantrell, 112 people were in the building at the time of collapse. Though the search for those missing was suspended for the evening, Cantrell confirmed that rescuers found two bodies but were unable to retrieve them.
Cantrell added that another crane was en route to assist with search and rescue efforts once those resume.
Streets surrounding the site were closed and some buildings were evacuated, including the nearby 145-year-old New Orleans Athletic Club.
CBS affiliate WWL-TV shared video of the collapse which showed construction workers running for their lives as the parts of the hotel came crashing down.
Governor John Bel Edwards was at the scene urging residents to stay away from the area. "I'm just asking for everybody to pray for those who are at the hospital," Edwards told reporters.
Mayor Cantrell issued a statement saying "our hearts break for the loss of life."
Construction plans for the 350-room hotel include a 12,000 square foot event space, two ballrooms and a residential space, according to a news release.
Hard Rock International issued a statement claiming it was not involved in the construction of the building.
"Citadel Builders LLC was contracted by Kailas Companies, owner of the project, to build the Hard Rock Hotel based on a brand licensing agreement with Hard Rock International, the future manager of the hotel," the statement read. "Hard Rock has had no involvement in the construction of the project. We want to extend our deepest sympathies to victims of this tragic accident and to their loved ones and friends."
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