NEW ORLEANS – Crews on Saturday recovered the body of one of two construction workers stranded nearly 10 months ago in the collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel under construction in New Orleans.
The family saw the remains of Quinnyon Wimberly, 36, lowered from the complex by a pedestal and a crane, The Times-Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate reported. Sobbing relatives gathered at the venue for 15 minutes, as Mayor LaToya Cantrell and New Orleans Fire Department Director Tim McConnell stood beside.
Authorities say there is no instant information on when the crew will unearth the remains of another worker, 63-year-old Jose Ponce Areola. The crew have yet to reach the area on the 8th floor of the structure where they are expected to find his body.
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The remains of Anthony Magrette, 49, the third worker who died, were relocated a day after the building partially collapsed on October 12. His twin sister, Angela Magrette, stood with the family. Wimberly’s house on Saturday when Wimberly’s remains were removed from the structure around 10 o’clock. : 45 am
“This family we really made up our family. I have to be here for them,” she said. “It is torture. You live this October 12 every day, knowing that people are still not responsible.”
Plans to remove bodies have been delayed several times. A representative of the 1031 Canal Development, the developer of the project, said problems include finding insurance and contractors for site demolition work, as well as inclement weather.
When the body was eventually removed, authorities said, they planned to quickly demolish the building as the city was in the midst of a new storm season. Officials said they expect the infrastructure to be in October, a year after the initial collapse. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
Cantrell and the fire director, McConnell, spoke to reporters shortly after noon, saying Saturday was a difficult day, but ultimately a good one.
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“It’s been a long journey,” says Cantrell hesitantly and with tears on his cheeks. “But the longest stretch is for the families most affected by this collapse. (It’s been a long time since we came to bring Quinnyon Wimberly out of the building. It was an intolerable wait. “
Cantrell and McConnell said the next step was to remove Ponce Areola’s body, which the head said would be much more difficult and complicated than the process involved in bringing Wimberly’s remains.