October 2, 2023
Updated 36 minutes ago
Watch: The moment the roof of a Mexican church collapses was caught on video cameras
Nine people are said to have been killed and around 20 others trapped after a church roof collapsed in Mexico.
Local media reported that 49 people were hospitalized after the roof of Santa Cruz Church in Ciudad Madero collapsed.
According to police in the coastal state of Tamaulipas, about 100 people were in a crowd at the time of the collapse. Local media reported that it was a baptism.
A number of children are believed to be among those trapped and rescue efforts are underway.
Images on social media showed the church building in ruins as people crowded around the rubble, desperately searching for those trapped inside.
Local journalist Franc Contreras told the BBC World Service’s Newsday program that the collapse occurred at a crucial moment in the service.
“The church was full with about a hundred people, and people were lining up to receive communion – which, of course, is sort of the highlight of the Catholic Mass – and then the roof collapsed on them; Bricks, concrete, etc. Of course, steel support structures fall on people,” he said.
He added that Red Cross officials said the roof had collapsed on church pews, so there was a possibility that people trapped there could survive in air pockets.
People reportedly arrived with shovels and pickaxes to try to move the debris.
Later posts showed that rescue workers were on the scene following the collapse on Sunday afternoon.
There have been calls on social media for medical and rescue supplies to help those searching for survivors.
Authorities asked those gathered at the scene to remain silent so they could hear if anyone trapped inside called for help.
The bishop of the diocese of Tampico, José Armando Álvarez Cano, sent a message to the community on social media, saying work was underway to “find the people among the rubble.”
He said it was a “difficult time” and ended his video address by saying: “May the Lord help you.”