News outlets report construction workers ran to safety as the Hard Rock Hotel, which was under construction, came crashing down.
Dr. Emily Nichols, the Director of New Orlean's Emergency Medical Services, told reporters that EMS offered to transport 19 people to the hospital; 18 accepted and were transported and one refused.
The collapse dumped debris across the road and prompted evacuations at nearby buildings.
A second piece of the building fell around 10:45 a.m. The building near the city's historic French Quarter is considered unstable and officials said further collapse is possible. He confirmed three people are still missing, and it is unknown whether they walked off from the site or are trapped.
McConnell added that three people believed to be in the area of the building when it collapsed have not been located.
A number of building staff were working on the construction site, with the numbers still being accounted for.
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A large portion of a hotel under construction in New Orleans has suddenly collapsed.
Crews had been hoisting and installing a rooftop pool this week, local affiliate FOX 8 reported.
The Hard Rock Hotel was planned as an 18-story building with 350 rooms for the guests and a large swimming pool.
The building is on the corner of Iberville and North Rampart streets. One former theater hadn't been touched since before Hurricane Katrina hit the city.
He asked that people stay away from the area and refrain from using drones for either personal or media purposes to view the damage.