South African Church Collapses During Easter Service, Killing 13

South African church collapse photo from Arrive Alive Twitter.
Arrive Alive/Twitter

Unrelenting rainfall reportedly prompted a section of a South African church to collapse during an Easter season service on Thursday, killing 13 people and wounding many others.

Estimates for the number of injuries vary from 16 to “three dozen,” Breitbart News learned from several outlets.

At least six victims were seriously injured during the incident, which took place in the Dlangubo region of the KwaZulu-Natal coastal province.

“The wall at the front of the Pentecostal Holiness Church collapsed at the start of what had been planned as a weekend-long service to commemorate the Christian festival of Easter,” BBC reported.

“We received a call on Thursday night that part of a church wall had collapsed on congregants due to heavy rain and wind,” Nomusa Dube-Ncube, a provincial minister, told local broadcaster eNCA, Al Jazeera revealed.

ENCA noted that congregants held a special prayer service in a large tent in front of the damaged church.

“Christians [from] all denominations – we are here in solidarity. We are here to pray with the church, to pray with the families and to offer our support that God may really heal their wounds,” Rev. Thulasizwe Buthelezi, the mayor of Zululand municipality, reportedly proclaimed.

“Even at this difficult time, we still need to trust in God,” Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant, a member of the church who was planning to attend the Good Friday service there, said.

Col. Thembeka Mbele, a spokesman for the police of the KwaZulu-Natal province, indicated that “people had been sleeping in the church when the walls collapsed,” South Africa’s News 24 reported.

Most of the victims, including an 11-year-old girl, were people sleeping in the church, BBC noted.

Citing local emergency services, BBC reported that first responders rushed 29 people to the hospital after the collapse.

Echoing other local officials, Mbele attributed the deadly incident to the storm and heavy winds afflicting the area.

“This is thought to have been a result of perpetual rainfall in the northern part of the province,” KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Medical Services spokesperson Robert McKenzie told News 24.

The provincial government is reportedly expected to provide help to the bereaved families who lost loved ones.

Besides the church’s collapse, the storm resulted in “four structural collapses, nine accidents, flooding complaints” and the medical treatment of an additional 22 people, News 24 pointed out.

“Residents were left with no electricity, as well as houses and other establishments flooded and personal belongings found up to 200m away from their residence, due to the strong winds,” Paul Herbst, a spokesman for the local medical rescue teams, declared.

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