1707953062 Philippines One dead 53 injured when church balcony collapses

Philippines: One dead, 53 injured when church balcony collapses

The balcony of a Catholic church collapsed in the Philippines on Wednesday, killing an elderly woman and injuring 53 people during a crowded mass, authorities said.

Millions of Filipinos flocked to churches on Ash Wednesday, an important date for the Christian community that marks the start of Lent in this Catholic bastion of Asia.

Philippines: One dead, 53 injured when church balcony collapses

Photo AFP

About 400 people were attending holiday services when the accident occurred at the Church of St. Peter the Apostle in the city of San Jose del Monte, near the capital Manila, said Gina Ayson, the church's leader. City disaster protection.

An 80-year-old woman was seriously injured in the chest and died shortly afterwards in the hospital, Ayson said.

Part of the floor collapsed, throwing parishioners to the ground floor during Ash Wednesday mass, the city's disaster office told AFP.

“City construction officials discovered that part of the collapsed building was infested with termites,” she told AFP.

“It looked good from the outside. We didn't know it was eaten from the inside out.

The other victims, most of them elderly, suffered bruises and other minor injuries, she added.

San Jose del Monte Mayor Arthur Robes ordered the damaged church closed while investigators inspected the structure of the building, Ayson said.

Photos posted by Mr Robes on his Facebook page show part of the floating balcony floor, less than a meter above the ground floor, littered with plastic chairs and debris.