NEW ORLEANS -- Engineers detonated explosives Sunday to bring down two unstable cranes at the site of the Hard Rock Hotel collapse, leaving one after the blast dangling over the unfinished building and a large piece of the other toppled onto a nearby street.
One of the cranes left heavily damaged remained precariously leaning on the side of the building over Canal Street, a major corridor on the edge of the French Quarter. The other flipped top-first off the building on the opposite side and onto nearby Rampart Street, left sticking straight up.
Engineers had hoped that the two cranes would fold like an umbrella into the building that partially collapsed Oct. 12.
NEW: Video of the controlled demolition of two cranes at the Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans shows an explosion followed by one of the cranes falling to the ground. The other crane appeared to remain standing after the smoke cleared. https://t.co/j8qWmUwaJy pic.twitter.com/00IgdWjwEV
— ABC News (@ABC) October 20, 2019
Last week's collapse killed three workers and injured dozens more. The cause is under investigation by the New Orleans Police Department and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.
The engineers, who have worked both on buildings damaged after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City, identified more damage than expected when preparing the massive, 300-foot cranes for demolition late last week.
They delayed the implosion several days to accommodate the shifting cranes on the side of the unstable building.
Initial reports indicated the implosion did not damage nearby historic buildings, including the New Orleans Athletic Club and the Saenger Theater.
On Sunday morning, crowds gathered on the streets around the evacuation zones, despite the pleas from city officials for people to stay away. Authorities cleared blocks around the site hours before the explosion, and lifted the evacuation about a half hour after the cranes were detonated.
Around 2:40 p.m., a series of sirens sounded warning of the imminent explosion. When the blast happened, it could be felt and heard as far away as the Lakeview neighborhood, 4 miles from the Hard Rock.
Two bodies of workers killed in the initial collapse last week remain in the damaged Hard Rock building. Authorities plan to recover the bodies when they are able to reach them.
This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: Hard Rock Hotel collapse: Demolition blast brings down unstable cranes