Published: 2023-10-02 11:38
Last Updated: 2023-12-07 08:29
At least seven people were killed in northeastern Mexico on Sunday after the roof of a church came crashing down during a service, local officials said.
"Seven people are confirmed dead, and 10 injured people have been rescued" in the coastal town of Ciudad Madero, a spokesperson for the Tamaulipas state government said in a statement, adding that more people remained trapped and that rescue efforts were underway.
"Security and civil protection forces are already dealing with the situation... to coordinate rescue plans," Tamaulipas Governor Americo Villarreal wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, where he wrote a message lamenting the tragedy.
Local media reported that at least 20 people were still missing under the rubble of the Santa Cruz local parish, and that a baptism was being celebrated when the ceiling collapsed.
The government statement said the incident occurred in the early afternoon.
Images broadcast on Milenio Television showed 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 disappears into a cloud of dust.
"We are experiencing a very difficult moment... the roof of a church has collapsed during the celebration of the Eucharist," the bishop of the local diocese Jose Armando Alvarez said in a video posted to social media.
"At this moment they are doing the necessary work to save the people who are still under the rubble," he added, without providing more details.
Local residents put out calls on social media asking for tools to aid in the rescue effort, such as hydraulic lifts, wood and hammers to help remove the debris.
Ciudad Madero is a city of just over 200,000 people on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.