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A child’s baptism turned into tragedy when the roof of a church collapsed as a powerful earthquake shook central Mexico. Eleven members of a family died, including the 2-month-old girl being christened.


The only survivors were the girl’s father, the priest and the priest’s assistant, the Archdiocese of Puebla said Wednesday. At least four minors were among the dead.

“It was a scene of horror, sadness with most of the people inside the church dying,” priest’s assistant Lorenzo Sanchez told The Associated Press.

Sanchez said those who survived moved to the edges of the church when the swaying started while those who died didn’t have time to do so.

RELATED: Rescue workers scramble to free a girl still trapped after Mexico’s horrific earthquake

“One of the things they taught us is to stick to the firm walls of our church, which is old and its structure a bit deteriorated,” he said.

When the ground stopped shaking, people called for help using loudspeakers and residents of nearby communities quickly arrived in Atzala with shovels, pickaxes and chains to haul away rubble.

They dug for hours through the crumbling remains of the Santiago Apostol church but found 11 relatives had died.

Covered in dust and exhausted, the rescuers laid the bodies out on the same street where a party was meant to be held after the baptism. They covered them with canvas to protect them from the rain.

Family members of the dead traveled overnight from other states to attend Wednesday’s wake in Puebla, the state capital where mourners said a final goodbye to their loved ones.

Each coffin had a name attached: Florencio, Fidela, Aurelia, Manuela, Maria de Jesus, Carmen, Samuel, Azucena, Feliciana, Susana and Elideth — the girl who was to be baptized.

RELATED: Rescuers race to find survivors in the rubble of a school collapsed by Mexico’s earthquake

Mourners hold a wake for 11 family members who were killed inside the Santiago Apostol church during the 7.1 earthquake in the town of Atzala in Puebla state, Mexico, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. According to family related to the victims who died inside the church during Tuesday’s quake, the roof collapsed during a Mass held to baptize a two-month-old girl, and the only people who survived were the baby’s father, the priest and the priest’s assistant. (AP Photo/Pablo Spencer)

Tuesday’s magnitude 7.1 quake was centered in Puebla state, where it killed more than 40 people. Across Mexico it killed more than 200 people.

In Mexico City, rescue efforts continued Wednesday at a primary and secondary school where 25 bodies had been found and a young girl was located alive amid the rubble.

A family is devastated after this baptism turned tragic during the Mexican earthquake AP Photo/Pablo Spence
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