Half of congregation hurt as church’s ceiling collapses mid-service

2013-09-16 00:00

WORSHIPPERS at the Christ Team Church in Pietermaritzburg were in the middle of a church hymn yesterday when the ceiling collapsed, injuring 20 of them.

The church, which has 50 members, is situated in an old double-storey building in Old Main Road, just metres from the Plessislaer police station in Edendale.

Those who suffered mild to moderate injuries were taken to local hospitals.

Shocked church members said they were on the ground floor when the top floor started to break apart and then collapse on them.

One of the members, who did not want to be named, described the dramatic scenes as she waited for assistance at Edendale hospital.

“It happened so quick. We heard the sound of the wooden floor above us breaking apart and the next thing some of our members were trapped under the floorboards and the wooden beams. There was nothing we could do because no one expected this. We thank God no one died in this accident as we are not sure what really happened to the first floor,” she said.

Part of Old Main Road had to be closed for about an hour as the ambulances and police helped the churchgoers. The owner of the building, who would only identify herself as Ntloko, was also injured in the incident and had both her legs bandaged.

“This could have been very bad, but I thank the Lord for protecting us in this incident. I am still not sure what happened to the wooden floor, but I saw it falling on us,” said Ntloko.

Ntloko did not want to comment on the condition of the building. She said it has been used as a church for many years.

ER 24 paramedics spokesperson Christo Venter said they treated 20 patients for mild to moderate injuries. “Fortunately no one sustained serious injuries,” said Venter.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane confirmed that police were called to the church after the first floor collapsed.

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