Parts of downtown New Orleans are evacuated ahead of cranes demolition

Areas of New Orleans around the partially collapsed Hard Rock Hotel were being evacuated Sunday as the city prepared to demolish two dangerous construction cranes.

An evacuation order is “in effect for Hard Rock crane demo,” New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said in a tweet Sunday morning. A notice from the city said, “Crane Demolition Scheduled for Sunday, Evacuation and Exclusion Zones Expanded.”

Portions of the Hard Rock Hotel, which has been under construction at the edge of the city’s historic French Quarter, collapsed October 12.

All people within the red “evacuation zone” closest to the crane demolition must evacuate Sunday until further notice, according to the notice. Individuals in the yellow “exclusion zone,” which is further away, must remain indoors. “No vehicles or pedestrians will be allowed on the street or outside of structures, including on rooftops,” the notice said.

More than 100 construction workers were at the site when the collapse occurred, according to one of the construction companies. At least two people were killed and 30 were hospitalized.

Video footage showed workers emerging from a giant cloud of dust after the upper floors collapsed and debris filled the street.

Crews had hoped to bring the cranes down Friday evening but that plan was delayed because of a tropical storm, officials said.

The demolition was then rescheduled for Saturday but the experts discovered the cranes were more damaged than previously thought.

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