Hotel collapse in New Orleans

AP story here. The Hard Rock was/is under construction and a whole side of it just collapsed.

Dramatic 8 second video here.

Initial reports were no injuries but now they’re saying 1 dead and 3 missing. From the video I kinda wondered if the people in it were okay; it looks like they got caught in the debris if not outright fallen on.

Drone footage up close of the damage:

Trying to rush the concrete?

Oh! The Humanity!

2 dead; 1 unaccounted for now. More than 20 injured.

Huh? This happens in the US? Since when?

Seriously? You’re shocked?

This sort of thing used to be even more common in the past. Construction is hazardous and bodies buried under tons of debris take awhile to find and extract. The US is not some paradise where such things never happen, in fact, over the past decade there’s been more than one construction collapse in the media.

As of this morning, there is still a rescue crew looking for one more worker in the debris. Listening on the local (New Orleans) radio news this morning, someone indicated that they knew about where the last worker is, but have to work to safely clear enough debris to get to him.

The last person rescued alive from the 9/11 rubble was found 27 hours after the towers fell. Since the Hard Rock Hotel collapse, roughly 48 hours have elapsed. Still, there have been some miracle rescues after earthquakes several days out from building collapses … so there’s hope.

Working on college campuses means seeing new buildings going up quite often.

And that means the occasional death which gets more widely reported than most sites for some reason. It seems like 1 death every 2-3 large buildings but that can’t be the actual ratio. But still it happened so many times over my career it really sunk in how dangerous construction is.

It was always odd to think in terms of “That building over there cost $6M and one life.”

We also knew of such things more personally. One woman we knew lost her husband when he fell off the roof of a house under construction.

Looks like a few days before the collapse workers could see what was bound to happen:

“Look, Papo, ‘the best engineering!’ Look at these large stretches (between supports) and s–t beams! (unintelligible) They’re already to the point of breaking,” the worker says in Spanish in the video.
“Look at how it’s bent already! They couldn’t remove it because it’s too bent and it has too much pressure. The huge spaces without beams – look! What a very s–t structure these architects and engineers are building! … This is seriously bad, Papa!”

Since like forever. We try to keep major disasters rare, but we can’t eliminate them. Every now and then a flawed plan gets all the way through to fabrication, or a good plan gets implemented incorrectly, or a good plan gets changed in the field in a bad way, or the construction process gets rushed, or an unfinished structure gets subjected to a load that nobody really considered. According to the article bobot linked to, there may have been several of those factors involved: a questionable design (corrugated metal configuration), rushing the concrete, and/or the presence of a heavy scissor lift. Will be very interested to hear the final report when it comes out.

They have abandoned hope for finding the third missing person; death toll now at 3:

They took down (via explosives) the cranes today:

And they couldn’t even implode the cranes successfully: Crane implosion at Hard Rock Hotel collapse site in New Orleans: raw video - YouTube

After the detonation, one of the cranes remained up with parts of the crane dangling near Canal Street. The top portion of the other crane fell onto Rampart Street.

Wow; they really fucked that up.

According to one article I read, they intended to hook the one crane over the building, so no mistake there. and I’ve seen no admission of mistake with respect to the crane that fell onto the street; not sure why landing crane parts there would be a bad thing, as long as there are no people or vehicles in the landing zone.

Given that it impaled itself into the road and so it needed to be taken down again and right away. (They were worried about TS Nestor.) If it was made to land on the building then it just adds to the junk pile.

From this article:

On any demolition job big enough to involve explosives, I suspect any consequent damage tallying up to a few thousand dollars is probably not considered a big deal.

Safe demolition of anything that’s already been compromised is always a challenge. They just can’t know exactly how a damaged thing will behave unless using MOAB-level explosives that will also destroy neighboring buildings and blow out every window for seven blocks in all directions.