At least 10 individuals, among them three children, tragically lost their lives when the roof of a church in northern Mexico collapsed.
The incident took place during a Sunday afternoon baptism ceremony at the Santa Cruz church in Ciudad Madero, located in the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico, with approximately 100 attendees present.
According to the BBC, approximately 60 individuals sustained injuries, with at least two of them in critical condition, and numerous people were trapped beneath the debris. Local residents promptly rushed to the scene armed with shovels and pickaxes in an attempt to rescue those trapped.
Search and rescue teams have now arrived at the location, and two cranes have been deployed to clear away the rubble. The governor of Tamaulipas has confirmed that all individuals previously reported as missing have been located and accounted for.
Rescue personnel employed thermal imaging cameras to ensure that no one remained trapped beneath the wreckage.
The exact cause of the collapse remains unclear, but the mayor of Ciudad Madero suggested that it may have resulted from structural deficiencies. Ángel Vargas, the priest presiding over the baptism ceremony at the time of the incident, expressed the heartbreaking transformation of what was supposed to be a day of celebration into a tragic event.
“They came to search for heaven for the little ones and found eternity. I want the families to find peace. All of this is unfathomable.”
As reported by local journalist Franc Contreras on the BBC World Service’s Newsday program, the collapse occurred at a crucial juncture during the church service.
“People were lined up to take the communion – of course that’s sort of the climax of the Catholic Mass – and that’s when the roof came down on top of them; bricks, concrete, and of course steel support structures coming down on top of the people,” he said.
Contreras also mentioned that according to Red Cross officials, the roof collapsed onto the church pews, raising the possibility that individuals trapped in that area might have survived in air pockets.