At least ten people were killed and sixty wounded Sunday, October 1 in Mexico when the roof of a church collapsed during mass in the city of Ciudad Madero, in the state of Tamaulipas (northeast), according to a new assessment of the local government. The accident occurred around 14:18 p.m. local time (20:18 GMT) when, presumably due to structural failure, the upper part of the church collapsed, authorities said in a statement.
Unfortunately, we have had confirmation that ten people have died, including five women, two men and three children," Americo Villarreal, Governor Tamaulipas told reporters at the scene. The previous death toll was nine.
No failures detected in the church
A woman's body has yet to be recovered from the rubble and there are likely no other victims, as missing people have been located, he added. Sixty people have received medical care, 23 of whom remain hospitalized. "Two suffer serious injuries and their prognosis is life-threatening," he said.
Asked about the causes of the roof collapse, he said that, according to the parish priest, no failure had been detected in this industrial-style church built about fifty years ago. A Red Cross official earlier said the work of rescuers had ended and specialized teams were expected for a "final" search operation under the rubble, on the Milenio television channel. About 80 people were attending a baptism when the roof of Santa Cruz's parish church suddenly collapsed, he said.
We are living in a very difficult moment (...) the roof of a church collapsed during the celebration of the Eucharist," José Armando Alvarez, bishop of the diocese of Tampico, to which the church belongs, said in a video posted on social networks. "At present, the necessary work is underway to evacuate the people who are still under the rubble," he added, without specifying the number of people affected.
Every Sunday was "special" because of the celebration of baptisms in the church attended by entire families, explained on the 4C News channel, Father Angel Vargas, who officiated in the church at the time of the tragedy.
The governor of Tamaulipas, Américo Villareal, deplored the tragedy on his account X (ex-Twitter) and indicated that the rescue services had been mobilized to take care of the victims. "The security and civil protection services are already managing the situation (...) They are on hand to coordinate rescue operations," he wrote.
Américo Villarreal on X: "Lamento profundamente lo ocurrido en la iglesia de la Santa Cruz de Cd. Madero. Las corporaciones de seguridad y protección civil ya se encuentran atendiendo la situación. Además, he pedido al Secretario General de Gobierno, al Coordinador Estatal de Protección Civil y a las..." / X (twitter.com)
Footage from Milenio TV shows dozens of people trying to support part of the collapsed structure with poles, while others make their way through the rubble in search of survivors. Rescuers, as they did during rescue operations following the 2017 earthquake that shook central Mexico, raised their fists in the air to demand silence and identify the possible cries of those trapped.
The area is surrounded by several ambulances, police and military, as well as many people rushing in search of family members who were in the church. Messages have been posted on social media asking for tools, such as hydraulic cylinders or sledgehammers, to remove debris. Ciudad Madero is a municipality in southern Tamaulipas, on the Gulf Coast, with just over 200,000 inhabitants.