VIDEO: Remains of Quinnyon Wimberly removed from Hard Rock collapse site nearly 10 months later; family speaks
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The family of Quinnyon Wimberly held vigil Saturday as crews worked to removed his remains 10 months after the Hard Rock Hotel collapsed.
Wimberly’s remains were removed from the rubble around 11 a.m.
His family became overwhelmed with emotion when the basket was lowered to the ground on Canal Street.
Wimberly and one other worker have been inside the collapsed building since October of last year
A third victim was removed not long after the building collapsed.
An autopsy will be conducted on Wimberly. Mayor Cantrell said Saturday that those results could take up to two months and has informed his family of that timeline.
The remains of Jose Ponce Arreola are still within the rubble. NOFD Chief Tim Mcconnell says efforts will now turn to retrieve his body. He says getting to Arreola will be much more difficult and was unable to provide a timeline as to when that will be complete.
Crews worked several hours Friday taking apart the site piece-by-piece. More work started around 9 a.m. on Saturday morning (Aug. 8).
As it has been nearly 10 months since the collapse, the family says they are ready to bring him home.
On Oct. 12, Frank Wimberly Jr. picked up the phone in Atlanta telling him to immediately come to New Orleans.
“I saw the images and I was like, ‘oh my God',” he said.
His brother Quinnyon was one of those working on the site of the Hard Rock when it collapsed, and he remembers hoping his brother would be okay on this day.
“I immediately started calling him saying, ‘I’m calling man. If you hear me pick up the phone and let me know that you’re all right.’ I wanted him to be okay inside the building,” he said.
Nearly 10 months later, he and his family have returned, anxious for a resolution.
Crews spent hours working on the side of the building chipping away concrete to get to Quinnyon’s remains.
“To know now the brother I knew physically, he doesn’t even look like that anymore and that’s tough, and like my mom said I wouldn’t wish this on anybody. It’s hard,” he said.
“Every time we have to deal with this and then be let down it’s like opening up a wound,” said Nita Bailey.
Bailey took the time to tell her cousin she missed him one more time. She says as painful as it is to return to the site of his death, one street over she’s reminded of the good times they had together.
“We’d meet out here on Basin street actually for Mardi Gras every year, every single year, he’d be out here be one of the first people here, ‘What’s up cuz, what’s up, ya’ll ready to roll, you know.’ He was our protector, now we’re just hoping he protects us still,” she said.
“Quinnyon was the type of person who always wanted to be seen, so all of this is Quinnyon,” his mother, Irene, said.
The Wimberly family said they have been through a lot so far and as anxious as they are to lay their loved one to rest. They will wait a few more hours until he is found.
“It’s a bittersweet ordeal so we’re kinda happy we’re going to get to bring them home, but as they get closer and we’re looking at the process and being so close we’re praying that nothing goes wrong,” his brother said.
“This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through and I wish no one ever feels this type of pain it’s been too long,” Irene said.
Wimberly said they have been in constant communication with fire chief Tim McConnell.
This story will be updated throughout the day.
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