Songs of praise turned to screams of terror on Saturday when the roof of a brand new church in Nigeria collapsed without warning, killing and injuring worshippers.
The government on Monday was rushing plastic surgeons and other medical staff to the southern Nigerian city of Uyo, Reuters reported, after what has been described as the deadliest building collapse in the African country’s recent history.
The congregation numbering in the hundreds had gathered inside the Reigners Bible Church International on Saturday 10 December for the consecration of the church’s founder Akan Weeks as its bishop when metal girders fell and the corrugated iron roof caved in, Associated Press reports.
Akan Weeks and the governor of the state of Akwa Ibom were reported to have survived.
According to reports the church was still under construction, and churchgoers had said that workers had been rushing to finish it in time for the ceremony on Saturday.
Mortuaries in the area were overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster, said medical director Etete Peters of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, to Associated Press.
Peters said he counted 90 bodies removed from the church before he was told to stop counting on Saturday night.
Building collapses are not uncommon in Nigeria. In 2014, 116 people died when a multistorey guesthouse of the Synagogue Church of All Nations collapsed in Lagos.
Image: This picture taken on 10 December 2016 shows the wreckage after a church roof collapsed on worshippers in Uyo, Nigeria (AFP/Getty Images)