11 people are dead after Mexico church roof collapses. No more people believed buried in rubble

Rescue workers on Sunday search for survivors amid debris after the roof of a church collapsed during a Mass in Ciudad Madero, Mexico. (Jose Luis Tapia/El Sol de Tampico via AP)

CIUDAD MADERO, Mexico — The collapse of a church roof during a service in northern Mexico has killed at least 11 people and injured 60, and searchers said Monday that no further people were believed to be trapped in the wreckage.

State police had initially estimated about 100 people were inside the church in the Gulf coast city of Ciudad Madero when it collapsed during a baptism Sunday, and said that approximately 30 parishioners may have been trapped in the rubble when the roof caved in.


But Tamaulipas state Gov. Américo Villarreal later said only 70 were believed to have been inside. That represented a kind of miracle in itself; a parish priest said that minutes before the collapse, the main Sunday mass attended by as many as 300 people had just ended and people had exited the church.

Gov. Villarreal said that after sending search dogs and thermal imaging cameras under the collapsed concrete slab it appeared that nobody was still trapped, apart from the ten bodies already recovered.

“The most likely thing, I can’t affirm it 100%, is that there aren’t any more people trapped,” Villarreal said. Describing the searches by dogs and rescue teams, he said “there are no indications of life inside the collapsed area.”

That optimism will be put to the test when cranes start lifting chunks of the collapsed slab off the floor and the tops of pews.

Luis González de la Fuente, the state’s civil defense coordinator, said Monday that an 11th person died at a hospital. He said it was an 18 year-old woman, who was among two people who had been listed in serious condition earlier Monday.

The collapse occurred Sunday at the Santa Cruz church in the Gulf coast city of Ciudad Madero, next to the port city of Tampico, just as a mass baptism was being held.

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