Death toll from Mexico church roof collapse rises to 11 | World News - Hindustan Times
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Death toll from Mexico church roof collapse rises to 11

AFP | | Posted by Nisha Anand
Oct 03, 2023 03:45 AM IST

The tragedy struck the coastal town of Ciudad Madero on Sunday when about 70 people were attending a baptism at the Santa Cruz Catholic Church.

The death toll from a roof collapse at a church in northeastern Mexico rose to 11 on Monday, with dozens more injured, as a shocked community mourned victims of the disaster.

Rescuers and members of Civil Protection work amid the rubble after the roof of a church came crashing down on a baptism in Ciudad Madero, Tamapulipas state, Mexico, on October 2, 2023. (AFP)
Rescuers and members of Civil Protection work amid the rubble after the roof of a church came crashing down on a baptism in Ciudad Madero, Tamapulipas state, Mexico, on October 2, 2023. (AFP)

The tragedy struck the coastal town of Ciudad Madero, in Tamaulipas state, on Sunday when about 70 people were attending a baptism at the Santa Cruz Catholic Church, according to officials.

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"Unfortunately I've just received the sad news that another person has died. We have 11 deaths," town mayor Adrian Oseguera told reporters at the scene on Monday.

Several children were among those killed, while about 60 people were injured, of whom 13 remained in hospital, authorities said.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador expressed his condolences to the relatives.

The disaster had generated "a lot of solidarity from the people," he said at his regular morning news conference.

Church officials said a collective baptism was being celebrated when the ceiling collapsed in Ciudad Madero, a city of just over 200,000 people on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

"We are experiencing a very difficult moment," the bishop of the local diocese, Jose Armando Alvarez, said in a video posted to social media.

With all of the missing accounted for, workers used heavy machinery to clear away rubble, as local residents expressed sorrow.

"I'm shocked. What happens to one of us, happens to all of us, so we feel a lot of pain for the families who are going through this," said Beatriz Morales, a housewife.

- Rescue effort -

After the roof collapsed, ambulances, police and military personnel rushed to the site, in addition to numerous people in search of family members who were inside the church.

Local residents put out calls on social media asking for tools to aid the rescue effort, such as hydraulic lifts and hammers.

Local media showed footage of dozens of people trying to hold up part of the collapsed structure with poles while others made their way through the wreckage in search of survivors.

In a scene reminiscent of earthquake recovery efforts, rescuers could be seen raising their fists in the air as a call for silence so they might hear any calls for help coming from people stuck under the wreckage.

A video reportedly from a nearby security camera appears to show the moment of collapse, as the church building crumbles all at once into a cloud of dust.

The building was constructed about four decades ago and remodeled in 2010.

The Archdiocese of Mexico posted a message on social media offering condolences.

"We join in prayer with our sister diocese Tampico to intercede for our killed and injured brothers," it said.

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