Authorities reported that at least nine people were killed as a result of a church roof collapse during Sunday mass in a northern Mexican city, injuring 50, as rescuers worked into the night, relentlessly looking for several others believed to be trapped under the rubble.
Military forces assisted emergency services by locating and extracting people from the church's wreckage in Ciudad Madero, a city on the Gulf coast close to the port of Tampico, using rescue dogs and earth-moving tools while working under floodlights.
Social media videos captured the collapse of the church roof, grey smoke pouring into the sky, and the subsequent collapse of the outside walls made of yellow brick.
Nine people died and another 40 were taken to nearby hospitals. However, several other worshippers remained unaccounted for, according to Jorge Cuéllar, spokesman for the Security Ministry of Tamaulipas state, which borders Texas.
Speaking on Mexican media, Cuéllar thanked local businessmen for bringing equipment to help remove rubble and aid rescue efforts.
Bishop Jose Armando Alvarez from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tampico said the church roof crumbled as worshippers were receiving communion and asked others to pray for the survivors.
"In this moment the necessary work is being carried out to pull out the people who are still under the rubble," Bishop Armando said in a recorded message shared on social media.