The death toll from a church collapse on Saturday in Nigeria has reached at least 160, reports the New York Times. Hundreds of parishioners had gathered in the newly constructed Reigners Bible Church International, located in the southern city of Uyo. They came to celebrate the consecration of founder Akan Weeks as the church’s bishop.
The structure collapsed during the service, and the iron roof crashed down on everyone inside.
“There were trapped bodies, parts of bodies, blood all over the place and people’s handbags and shoes scattered,” Ukeme Eyibio, who was making a phone call from his car parked nearby, told the Associated Press.
Eyibio and others rescued trapped survivors while they waited for emergency crews with heavy equipment to arrive.
“I’m so traumatized I could not sleep last night for the horrors repeating themselves in my mind,” he told the news agency.
Worshippers told the AP that construction workers rushed to complete the church in time for the ceremony.
Building collapses are common in Nigeria, The Times reported. Contractors often use poor quality materials and bribe inspectors.
Akwa Ibom state Governor Udom Emmanuel was in attendance when the church collapsed. He is one of the lucky ones who survived. Emmanuel’s spokesman told the AP that an investigation is underway.