Remains exposed months after New Orleans hotel collapse

The Associated Press

New Orleans – A tarp has fallen from the collapse site of an unfinished New Orleans hotel, partially exposing the remains of one of the workers killed in the October accident.

Photos of the remains sticking out from the Hard Rock Hotel rubble near the city’s historic French Quarter started to circulate on social media Tuesday afternoon. Below them, the red tarp that had covered the remains for months dangled in the wind.

The City of New Orleans says it may not be able to cover the body again any time soon due to safety concerns, news outlets reported.

This Oct. 12, 2019, file photo, shows damage of a partial collapse at the Hard Rock Hotel under construction in New Orleans.

“The condition of the building and the altitude above street level complicate efforts to replace the tarp, as they have prevented recovery thus far,” a statement from City spokeswoman LaTonya Norton said.

Demolition of the site isn’t set to begin until mid-March, officials recently said.

The unfinished hotel partially collapsed Oct. 12, killing three people and injuring dozens more. The bodies of two workers, 63-year-old Jose Ponce Arreola and 36-year-old Quinnyon Wimberly, are trapped inside and cannot be recovered safely ahead of a controlled implosion of the site planned for mid-to-late March.

The city asked residents not to take photos of the remains, which are clearly visible from the street.

“Capturing or sharing images of the victims in such a condition is irresponsible, it is indefensible, and it is not who we are as New Orleanians,” Norton said. “Out of respect to the victims and their families, and in the name of basic common decency: we urge news outlets, residents, and social media users to have nothing to do with making a tragic situation needlessly worse.”