At least seven people were killed and 10 others were injured in Mexico on Sunday when a church roof collapsed during a mass in Ciudad Madero, Tamaulipas state, the local government said.
The state government security spokesman said in a statement: “Seven people were confirmed dead and ten injured were rescued,” noting that search operations are underway to rescue the trapped people.
According to local media, at least 20 people were trapped under the rubble of the industrial-style Santa Cruz Parish Church.
The accident occurred around 2:18 p.m. local time when the upper part of the church collapsed, likely due to a structural failure, authorities said in a statement.
Jose Armando Alvarez, Bishop of the Diocese of Tampico, to which the church belongs, said in a video posted on Twitter: “We are going through a very difficult moment (…) The roof of the church collapsed while celebrating the Divine Mass.” social networks.
He added: “At the present time, the necessary work is underway to evacuate those still under the rubble,” without specifying the number of those affected.
The governor of Tamaulipas state, Americo Villareal, expressed his regret over the tragedy on his account on the X website (formerly Twitter), and indicated that emergency services were mobilized to care for the victims.
He wrote, “The security and civil protection services are already managing the situation… and are present at the site to coordinate rescue operations.”
Footage broadcast by Milenio TV showed dozens of people trying to support part of the collapsed building with columns, while others made their way through the rubble in search of survivors.
Rescuers, as they did during relief operations following the 2017 earthquake that rocked central Mexico, raised their fists in the air to demand silence and recognize the possible screams of those caught in the fire.
The area is surrounded by many ambulances, police and military personnel, as well as many people running around looking for family members who were at the church.
Messages were posted on social media requesting tools, such as hydraulic jacks or heavy hammers, to remove the rubble.
Ciudad Madero is a municipality located in southern Tamaulipas, on the Gulf Coast, with a population of just over 200,000.