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Rescuers recover one body as search resumes in collapsed New Orleans building

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Oct. 14 (UPI) — Search and rescue personnel recovered the body of a worker who died in a fatal building collapse in New Orleans over the weekend, officials said.

“We have removed one body from the site and have transported that individual to our coroner’s office at which time they will be identified,” Mayor LaToya Cantrell said in a news conference Sunday.

On Saturday, an 18-story hotel under construction by Florida-based Hard Rock International collapsed as workers were inside, killing two people and hospitalizing 18 others.

The body was recovered following the resumption of rescue operations on Sunday after being called off the night before.

New Orleans Fire Department Superintendent Tim McConnell said the rescue mission is ongoing for one person who has yet to be located among the building’s rubble.

“We’re still in rescue mode,” he said. “We have one person still not located.”

He said they are all praying for “the best outcome for that person’s family.”

Teams have gone in with search dogs and detection equipment above the eighth floor as rescue workers will continue searching throughout the night, he said, but progress is being hampered due to safety concerns.

“Our goal here is to continue to make the scene safe so we can continue getting into this building deeper and deeper for rescue purposes,” he said. “That’s where we are now.”

Efforts are ongoing to secure a crane near the site, he said, as it threatens to collapse the rest of the building and two engineers have flown in with a third on the way to offer their assistance with securing the building.

“This is not a short-term event,” McConnell said earlier Sunday in a statement. “This is a marathon.”

The city of New Orleans is urging residents to avoid the area when commuting on Monday as several streets in the vicinity are closed.

“If there is no way to avoid coming to the area for work, it is vital that drivers exercise extreme caution and patience as the number of road closures is expected to cause significant delays and slowdowns,” the city said in a statement.

The 18-story building was to contain 350 hotel rooms and 62 one- and two-bedroom units.

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