It’s hard to miss this huge wreckage site as piles rubble form a frozen concrete landslide in the street. The wreckage of the Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans is over six months old, and the hard rock piles of concrete still make the arms of a massive crane almost stand upright after a retrieval effort left the machine embedded at the sidewalk of the building.
A Construction Site Tragedy
Still, the bodies of the two out of three construction workers remain unrecovered in a pile of the building wreckage. A safety officer explains to the public and their families that the bodies of the two out of three workers remain irretrievable until the site has been fully demolished due to safety concerns. The two construction workers; 36-year-old, Quinnyon Wimberley and 63-year-old Jose Ponce Areola, were killed during the collapse of the construction site in October 2019.
One of the workers, Wimberley working as an air conditioning contractor and supervisor on the construction project. The engaged was soon to marry his fiancé and was also the father of two. His finance, Bianca Boone, was with ABC News reporting what happened. She stated that she was on the phone with him at the time of the crash when she heard him say asked: “What was that?” A large crash sound shortly followed after his statement, that was when the floors of the construction site collapsed on him. After efforts of trying to reach his Wimberley, the calls were all unanswered, and at that moment she knew she had lost him.
What’s Happening Now
Months have passed since the families of the workers have been waiting to give a proper sendoff burial for their loved ones, but they’ve been no proper compensation made for them to do this. The brother of the collapsed victim, Frank Wimberley, expressed his sadness towards the loss of his brother to ACB News. He said, “I don’t think words can describe the way my family and I feel. It’s one thing to lose him in such a freak accident. We don’t get a chance to say a proper goodbye.
Activist and family members of the victims continue to mourn their losses and hope for the best by setting up memorial photos and ribbons with flowers along a chain-link fence separating the site and pedestrian traffic. The members of the other victims continue expressing their feelings as the sister of the third worker says, “This hurts my family every day — knowing that building is still there.”
Locals and visitors gather around the sites to observe the site and also the memorial makeshift expressing their concerns on why the bodies of these workers are still yet to be recovered. Plans to demolish the wreckage site have been unsuccessful since and have been postponed. The city has also hired a new firm for the demolition of the building, DH Griffin, with an estimation time of April latest.
Also, the Hard Rock Hotel denied responsibility in the accident, as they claimed they had nothing to do with the construction process.