Ciudad Madero, Mexico — The roof of a church collapsed in northern Mexico during Sunday Mass, killing at least 10 people and injuring around 60, authorities said as searchers probed in the wreckage throughout the night and into Monday morning looking for survivors and more victims. Approximately 30 parishioners were believed to have been trapped in the rubble when the roof caved in, officials said.
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 people who had been injured, including a 4-month-old baby, three 5-year-olds and two 9-year-olds. The number of young victims – police officers said three of the dead were children – may have been due to the fact that baptisms were to take place at the church.
✱ ”We lament the painful loss of people who were there celebrating the baptism of their children,” Bishop Alvarez wrote.
✱ “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!”
✱ “I’m a faithful believer that we all die at the time that God decides,” the Rev. Ángel Vargas, the priest who was delivering mass at the time that the roof collapsed.
✱ The Mexican Council of Bishops issued a statement saying that “we join in prayer at the tragic loss of life and those injured.”
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.
Walls did not appear to have been blown outward, nor was there any indication of an explosion, or anything other than simple structural failure.
The roof appeared to be made of relatively thin poured concrete, and photos distributed by state authorities showed the roof slab resting on the top of pews in some parts of the church. That left open the possibility there were air spaces for any survivors.