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Remains of killed construction workers in Hard Rock hotel building collapse to be rescued

Remains of one of two missing construction workers trapped between pancaked floors of the Hard Rock Hotel could be rescued this week – more than NINE MONTHS since the New Orleans building collapsed

  • This week searchers hope to recover the body of one of two construciton workers who died when the Hard Rock Hotel construction site collapsed
  • The 18-story building collapsed on October 12 as it was still being built
  • Three people were killed and many others injured 
  • Workers 63-year-old Jose Ponce Arreola and 36-year-old Quinnyon Wimberly remain in the structure trapped between pancaked floors
  • Officials aim to reach Wimberly’s remains by the end of the week and the remains of Ponce by the middle of next week 

This week searchers could reach the remains of one of two construction workers whose corpses are stuck in the collapsed Hard Rock Hotel construction site in New Orleans.

On October 12 the 18-story building collapsed, trapping two workers’ bodies in the pancaked upper floors of the building.

The building’s devastating collapse killed three people and injured many others.

The body of Anthony Magrette was recovered from the building following the accident but the bodies of two workers, 63-year-old Jose Ponce Arreola and 36-year-old Quinnyon Wimberly remain in the structure. 

This week searchers could reach the remains of one of two construction workers whose corpses are stuck in the collapsed Hard Rock Hotel construction site in New Orleans. An aerial view of the partially collapsed hotel on October 12, 2019 above 

63-year-old Jose Ponce Arreola

Quinnyon Wimberly

The bodies of two workers, 63-year-old Jose Ponce Arreola (left) and Quinnyon Wimberly (right), 36, are still in the structure. Officials aim to reach Wimberly’s remains by the end of the week and the remains of Ponce by the middle of next week 

New Orleans Fire Superintendent Tim McConnell said during a news conference at the site Monday afternoon that the demolition operation at building is in ‘full recovery mode.’

He said searchers aim to reach Wimberly’s remains by the end of the week. He’s believed to be on the 11th floor, closer to Iberville Street.

He said the remains of Ponce, which authorities believe is on the 8th floor, could be recovered by the middle of next week.

The city has requested and received a no-fly zone around the site starting Wednesday.

McConnell stressed the danger of the rescue mission.

‘Recovery is very, very challenging because of the amount of debris the bodies are beneath,’ he said. 

'Recovery is very, very challenging because of the amount of debris the bodies are beneath,' New Orleans Fire Superintendent Tim McConnell said during a news conference at the site Monday afternoon

‘Recovery is very, very challenging because of the amount of debris the bodies are beneath,’ New Orleans Fire Superintendent Tim McConnell said during a news conference at the site Monday afternoon

Later in October part of the hotel was purposefully imploded in an effort to topple to cranes that had been looming over the ruins of the partially collapsed hotel

Later in October part of the hotel was purposefully imploded in an effort to topple to cranes that had been looming over the ruins of the partially collapsed hotel

Workers pictured being helped after the hotel construction site suddenly collapsed on October 12

Workers pictured being helped after the hotel construction site suddenly collapsed on October 12

The collapse and the struggle to retrieve the bodies from the wreckage has been a contentious issue in the city since October.

The rescue process was slowed by conflicts between the city and building developer over how best to bring the rest of the building down, as per Nola.com.

‘It’s very frustrating for rescuers who do this for a living. It’s even more so for the families,’ McConnell said.  

He said he and New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell had been meeting weekly with the men’s families, and have been in daily touch with them since Thursday. 

‘We talk to the families every single week,’ McConnell said. 

Search teams will place the remains into a container and the Coroner’s Office will make a positive ID and turn them over to their families.

The building¿s devastating collapse killed three people and injured many others. A view of the partially collapsed site above

The building’s devastating collapse killed three people and injured many others. A view of the partially collapsed site above

In January tarp that hid the remains of one of the workers was blown away by the wind, exposing the corpse. Pictures of the remains began to circulate on social media, leading city officials to hang new tarp around the site. 

Multiple failures on the part of city officials and building contractors led to the tragic collapsed. 

In April the Occupational Safety and Health Administration released a document accusing 11 different companies of fault in the job site.

The document said workers on floors eight to 18 were exposed to hazards of falling materials and building collapse. 

‘Structural steel connections were inadequately designed, reviewed or approved, affecting the structural integrity of these connections,’ the department said.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk