Dozens dead in Mexican church roof collapse

About 30 believed to have been trapped in the rubble

Rescue workers search for survivors amid debris after the roof of a church collapsed during Mass in Ciudad Madero on Sunday. AP
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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.

About 30 parishioners were believed to have been trapped in the rubble when the roof caved in, officials said. Rescue efforts were launched as responders probed in the wreckage late into the night looking for survivors and other victims.

Rescuers crawled under the roof slabs and officials brought in dogs to help search for survivors.

The Tamaulipas state police said about 100 people were in the church at the time of the collapse.

The state security's office said on Sunday that nine people had been killed in the collapse, which it described as likely being caused by “a structural failure".

Tamaulipas State Police said units of the National Guard, the police, the state civil defence office and the Red Cross were involved in the operation.

The Mexican Council of Bishops said “we join in prayer at the tragic loss of life and those injured".

Bishop Jose 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 taken to hospital. They included a four-month-old baby, three five-year-olds and two nine-year-olds. There was no immediate information on their conditions.

The number of young victims – police officers said three of the dead were children – may have been due to baptisms that were due to take place at the church.

“We lament the painful loss of people who were there celebrating the baptism of their children,” Mr Alvarez wrote.

Updated: October 02, 2023, 12:22 PM