Parishioners killed during bishop's ordination in tragic accident WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES
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The Reigners Bible Church International made headlines on Saturday when its roof collapsed on parishioners celebrating the ordainment of founder Akan Weeks as a bishop.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The ceremony was cut short when the roof collapsed.
Metal beams crushed parishioners to death as survivors ran for cover.
"All of a sudden, the church roof started collapsing and people began running to safety," local journalist and ceremony attendee David Uduak shared. "Lots were trapped, but I escaped because I was close to the entrance.
"Today we visited different hospitals where the victims were taken. Many were killed but it is hard to say how many."
Witnesses claimed the church had been undergoing construction but operations were rushed prior to the ordination and the building was packed beyond its safety capacity.
Local officials recovered about 60 bodies from the contorted metal but sources from the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital reported over 160 Christians were killed by the falling debris.
President Muhammadu Buhari released a statement of sorrow for the victims of the accident, sharing he remained in talks with local governor Udom Emmanuel, who was at the church but survived its collapse.
Emmanuel, one of many local dignitaries attending the ordination, called for two days of mourning in the state and an investigation into the building's safety standards.
It remains unclear what exactly caused the roof's collapse but Reporters Afrique News reported Akan ignored engineers, who warned against removing the center scaffold of the church.
A source close to the engineers responsible for the construction claim the pastor refused to listen despite warnings the scaffold was fractured.
Sadly, collapsed buildings are not new in Nigeria, where materials and safety standards are sub-par.
Please pray for the victims of the tragedy - both dead and alive. Perhaps with the close-call for local powers, new laws will be enacted. There is currently no news of such legislation nor is there information regarding the official reason for the collapse.
Copyright 2019 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
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