Page last updated at 03:37 GMT, Monday, 19 January 2009

Brazilian church roof collapses


The aftermath of the church collapse

Seven people were killed and at least 50 were injured when the roof of a church collapsed in Sao Paulo, Brazil, fire officials say.

They say the number of casualties could have been much higher but the accident happened between services when fewer people were inside.

The building belongs to the Reborn in Christ denomination, one of the largest Evangelical Churches in Brazil.

The footballer Kaka was married there in 2005.

The fire service says about 400 people were either entering or leaving the church in a central district of Sao Paulo when the roof collapsed on Sunday.

Troubled Church

Hours after the accident, Brazilian television showed pictures of firemen and police officers continuing to search through the rubble for survivors.

The roof of the church appears to have been completely destroyed, the BBC's Gary Duffy reports from Sao Paulo.

A spokeswoman for the Reborn in Christ church said the building, which is also its headquarters, normally holds 2,000 people, and is usually crowded on a Sunday night.

The church, a former cinema, is in one of the oldest districts of Sao Paulo.

In 2007, Reborn in Christ's two founders, Estevam and Sonia Hernandes, were sentenced to ten months' detention in Miami for smuggling cash into the United States.

The couple are said to own a network of radio and television stations in Brazil, where they have also faced an investigation over money-laundering charges.

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CNN Nine killed in Brazil church roof collapse - 13 hrs ago
Los Angeles Times Collapse of Brazil church roof kills 9 - 16 hrs ago
The Sun The Lord's player - 16 hrs ago
Sydney Morning Herald Brazilian church collapse kills nine - 17 hrs ago
Washington Post Brazil church collapse kills 9, injures 106 - 17 hrs ago

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