Church Roof Collapse in Northern Mexico: 49 Injured, Fatalities Reported

Church Roof Collapses During Sunday Mass in Mexico, Leaving Several Trapped

Members of security forces and people work at a site where a church roof collapsed during Sunday mass in Ciudad Madero, Tamaulipas state, Mexico | Photo Credit: Reuters

A tragic incident occurred on Sunday when the roof of a church in northern Mexico collapsed during Mass, resulting in an undetermined number of deaths and leaving approximately 30 parishioners trapped under the rubble. Authorities reported around 50 injuries as rescuers tirelessly searched for survivors with the help of search dogs.

The church, Santa Cruz, located in Ciudad Madero on the Gulf coast near Tampico port, was hosting a Mass when the roof suddenly caved in. Bishop José Armando Alvarez of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tampico explained that the incident occurred while parishioners were receiving communion.

Although civil officials did not provide information concerning casualties, the Mexican Council of Bishops issued a statement expressing condolences for the tragic loss of life and injuries. Bishop Alvarez’s diocese also posted a statement on social media, sharing their gratitude for the successful rescue efforts thus far, and calling for continued prayers.

As the rescue operations continued throughout the night, Bishop Alvarez urged individuals to donate wood to reinforce the roof and aid the ongoing rescue teams. The Tamaulipas state police, along with units from the National Guard, state police, state civil defense office, and Red Cross, were all present at the scene to assist in the rescue mission.

Photographs from local media depicted the collapsed structure, composed of concrete and brick, with sections of the roof resting on the ground. Security camera footage captured the unprecedented downward collapse of the gabled roof, indicating a structural failure rather than an explosion or outward blast. Notably, the relatively thin poured concrete roof prompted speculation about the existence of air spaces that could potentially house survivors.

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Bishop Alvarez shared a taped message, acknowledging the challenging moment the community was facing and assuring that the necessary work was underway to extract individuals still trapped under the rubble. Videos released by the state civil defense office displayed the use of wooden blocks to support the outer edges of the collapsed roof. Initial attempts to lift sections closer to the ground using a crane were discontinued due to the risk of further endangering survivors. Consequently, manual rescue efforts, employing wood props and hydraulic jacks, were deployed to reach those trapped beneath the slab. Specially trained search dogs were also dispatched to aid in detecting any survivors.

While building collapses are often associated with earthquakes in Mexico, the National Seismological Service confirmed no seismic activity that could have caused such damage during the time of the incident. Additionally, Ciudad Madero, situated approximately 310 miles south of Brownsville, Texas, is known for its proximity to regions experiencing drug cartel violence. However, the city has experienced less violence compared to its neighboring Veracruz state.

As the rescue mission continued, the community hoped for successful extractions and recovery while supporting those affected by the tragic accident with their prayers and donations.

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