Church roof collapses in Ciudad Madero Church roof collapses in Ciudad Madero 

Mexico: Ten die and many are injured in the collapse of a church roof

Ten people including three children have died and sixty have been injured, after the roof of a church collapsed during Sunday mass in the North East of Mexico. The tragedy happened during a Baptism service.

By James Blears

Bishop Jose Armando Alvarez of Tampico Diocese says the roof of Santa Cruz Church collapsed as more than one hundred people inside the building were receiving Communion during the celebration of Eucharist, stating: "We lament the loss of lives of people of who were celebrating the baptism of their children. Thanks to Divine Providence and the work of rescue teams, people have been pulled out alive."

The priest of the church Father Angel Vargas, who was holding the service when it happened said: "All of this is unfathomable. They came to search for Heaven for their little ones." The Archdiocese of Mexico said: "We join in prayer with our sister Diocese of Tampico."

Dozens of people held up the unstable structure with poles, while others risked their lives going into the rubble to search the rubble, many with their bare hands, as dozens were trapped in the rubble. The roof which was made from thin concrete came down on the pews, so there were air pockets and spaces in which some people were able to survive.  So far, the death toll is: five women, two men and three children.  Rescue teams consisted of State Police, local Police, the National Guard, Civil Defence the Red Cross plus friends and neighbours of those trapped. Two cranes, thermal imaging and hydraulic earth-moving equipment were used under arc lights through the night. 

Americo Villarreal, the Governor of Tamaulipas State confirms all those inside the Church have been accounted for, but the operation continues to ensure no one else is trapped. An investigation is already underway into the roof collapse which appears to have occurred due to structural failure. There was no seismic occurrence in the northeastern coastal city of Madero neighbouring the larger port city of Tampico at the time of this tragedy. 

Listen to the report by James Blears

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02 October 2023, 17:11