New Orleans – New Orleans authorities detonated several explosions on Sunday to knock down two unstable cranes next to a partially collapsed hotel, but apparently only one fell to the ground.
Bursts unleashed large clouds of dust. After it dissipated, part of one of the cranes could be seen hanging over the building, while the end of another, which was partially obstructed by the Saenger Theater, fell to the ground.
The demolition took place a little more than a week after the surprising crash of the Hard Rock hotel that was being built near one end of the historic French Quarter.RELATED
The two cranes were quite damaged when the upper floors of the hotel collapsed one on top of the other, throwing debris into the street and generating dust clouds.
Three workers died in the disaster. The body of one of them was recovered, but the remains of the other two remain within the construction. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said removing the bodies is the next priority after removing the cranes.
The cranes – one about 270 feet high, and the other about 300 feet – weigh thousands of tons and had been bending dangerously. Authorities feared they could collapse, possibly damaging nearby buildings or gas and electricity lines.
Experts, including engineers who worked on demolitions following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, were summoned to develop a plan to clear the site and prevent further damage.
On Thursday, authorities announced the project to demolish cranes in a controlled manner. It was going to take place on Friday, but it was postponed to Saturday and then to Sunday.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration continues to investigate the cause of the collapse. Cantrell and fire chief Tim McConnell said the collection of evidence began shortly after the building collapsed.
More than 20 injured people have already filed lawsuits against the owners and contractors of the project.