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Church collapse kills at least 10 children and adults during Mass

Priest and volunteers help rescue people at Mexico church collapse


John Burger - published on 10/03/23

People were gathered for baptisms and receiving Communion in Church of Santa Cruz in Gulf of Mexico city when roof caved in.

At least three children and seven adults were killed when a Catholic church in Mexico collapsed during Mass on Sunday.

The tragedy occurred in the Gulf of Mexico city of Ciudad Madero, near the port of Tampico in the state of Tamaulipas. 

About 100 people were inside the Church of Santa Cruz when the roof collapsed. Bishop José Armando Alvarez of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tampico told Associated Press that the roof caved in while parishioners were receiving Communion.

Baptisms of children had taken place during the Mass. Fr. Ángel Vargas, who had celebrated the Mass and Baptisms, said that a day of celebration had turned into a tragedy. 

“They came to search for heaven for the little ones and found eternity,” he said, according to the BBC. “I want the families to find peace. All of this is unfathomable.”

“We lament the painful loss of people who were there celebrating the baptism of their children,” Alvarez said in a statement.

About 60 people were injured – two of them seriously. Dozens were trapped in the rubble. 

Locals rushed to the scene with whatever tools they could get a hold of and were working to rescue victims. Rescue teams and military personnel soon arrived, bringing search dogs, thermal imaging cameras, earth moving equipment, and a crane.

Some people may have been able to survive because pews broke the fall of the collapsing ceiling, creating air pockets. 

“From underneath the rubble, thanks to Divine Providence and the work of the rescue teams, people have been pulled out alive!” the Diocese of Tampico said in a statement. “Let’s keep praying!” 

AP said that the National Seismological Service did not report any seismic activity strong enough to cause such damage at the time of the collapse. Nor was there any immediate indication of an explosion.

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