A Hard Rock hotel collapsed in downtown New Orleans leaving one person dead and three people missing.
Shocking footage shows pedestrians scrambling for cover as the top floors of the building fell to the ground in a giant cloud of dust.
Another harrowing video shows cars frantically trying to escape falling debris as terrified tourists watch on.
The incident happened on Canal Street, a major thoroughfare through the centre of New Orleans, on Saturday at around 9am local time.
First responders from the fire and police departments are at the scene with at least 18 injured people taken to hospital, reports nola.com.
New Orleans Fire Department spokesperson Tim McConnell said the structure of the upper building remains very unstable.
“Our biggest fear right now is the crane, it’s 270 foot,” McConnell said. “So the reach of that crane, if it were to come down has a tremendous amount of weight on it.”
At least one person is dead and several people are unaccounted for, according to Louisiana State Governor John Bel Edwards. The city’s emergency response authority urged locals to stay away from the area. It tweeted: “This is an active scene. Please avoid the area & listen to public safety officials. “You’re not going to be allowed anywhere near the site of the collapse. So please do yourself a favor, but more importantly do the first responders a favor so they can focus on the situation at hand and not have to focus on pedestrians.”