Ciudad Madero (Mexico), October 2
The roof of a church collapsed in northern Mexico during a Mass on Sunday, killing at least nine people and injuring around 50, authorities said as searchers probed in the wreckage late into the night looking for survivors and other victims.
Approximately 30 parishioners were believed to have been trapped in the rubble when the roof caved in, officials said. Searchers crawled under the roof slabs and officials brought in dogs to help search for possible survivors.
The Tamaulipas state police said about 100 people were in the church at the time of the collapse.
The state security spokesman's office said on Sunday that nine people had been confirmed dead from the collapse, which it described as likely being caused by “a structural failure”. Tamaulipas state police said units of the National Guard, the state police and state civil defence office and the Red Cross were involved in the operation.
The Mexican Council of Bishops issued a statement saying that “we join in prayer at the tragic loss of life and those injured”.
Bishop José Armando Alvarez of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tampico said the roof caved in while parishioners were receiving communion at the Santa Cruz church in the Gulf coast city of Ciudad Madero, next to the port city of Tampico.
The diocese later posted a list of about 50 people who had been hospitalised as a result of the accident. They included a four-month-old baby, three children 5-year-olds and two 9-year-olds. There was no immediate information on their conditions.
“From underneath the rubble, thanks to Divine Providence and the work of the rescue teams, people have been pulled out alive!” Alvarez's diocese wrote in a statement posted on it social media accounts. “Let's keep praying!” He also called on anyone who had wood to donate to bring it to the church, apparently to shore up the roof while rescue teams crawled inside.
Photos published by local media showed what appeared to be a concrete and brick structure, with parts of the roof fallen almost to the ground. Security camera footage from about a block away showed the unusual, gabled roof simply collapsed downward.
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