Cranes at Hard Rock Hotel 'more damaged' than experts thought, demolition delayed

The cranes have been a continuous source of concern since the building collapse.

October 19, 2019, 2:20 PM

The controlled demolition for the cranes at the partially collapsed Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans has been delayed, officials said Saturday.

The two cranes are "more damaged" than experts initially thought, which forced them to change their course of action, New Orleans Fire Department chief Timothy McConnell said at a news conference.

The cranes were supposed to come down Friday, but McConnell said he now believes it won't happen until noon Sunday at the earliest.

PHOTO: Workers in a bucket hoisted by a crane begin the process of preparing the two unstable cranes for implosion at the collapse site of the Hard Rock Hotel, which underwent a partial, major collapse.
Workers in a bucket hoisted by a crane begin the process of preparing the two unstable cranes for implosion at the collapse site of the Hard Rock Hotel, which underwent a partial, major collapse while under construction last Sat., Oct., 12, in New Orleans, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019.
Gerald Herbert/AP

"If they tell us it's too dangerous to do it one way," authorities will go with the experts and prioritize a new plan, he said.

The cranes, which each weigh 145,000 pounds, have been a source of major concern. Both have continuously swayed since the under-construction building's collapse on Oct. 12, which left three dead and dozens injured.

Experts are using small explosives, known as energetic materials, to bring the cranes down.

PHOTO: A worker walks in front of rubble in the street at the site of the Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans, Oct. 16, 2019.
A worker walks in front of rubble in the street at the site of the Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans, Oct. 16, 2019.
Gerald Herbert/AP

The goal is that they will come down in the same place as they are standing. However, McConnell noted that because of how unstable the cranes are, they might not fall as experts hope.

"That's our goal, but it may not happen that way," he said.

PHOTO: Workers begin the process of preparing the two unstable cranes for implosion at the collapse site of the Hard Rock Hotel, which underwent a partial, major collapse while under construction last Sat., Oct., 12, in New Orleans, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019.
Workers begin the process of preparing the two unstable cranes for implosion at the collapse site of the Hard Rock Hotel, which underwent a partial, major collapse while under construction last Sat., Oct., 12, in New Orleans, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019.
Gerald Herbert/AP Photo

Residents in the nearby area will be evacuated starting four hours before the crane's official demolition.

The bodies of two men who died are still inside the building. Authorities have not been able to reach them but hope that they will be able to recover the bodies.

Officials have not yet said what caused the collapse. Ten of the victims injured filed a lawsuit Friday against five companies involved in the construction, citing negligence.

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