The wood ceiling and roof tiles of a second-floor room of an outbuilding of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed St Augustine’s Church collapsed Sunday afternoon, and the historic site has been closed due to safety concerns, the Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) said in a statement.
No-one was injured in the accident, the statement said, adding that the room, which was not open to the public, had been empty and not usually used. Government-owned broadcaster TDM said last night that at the time of the collapse a Mass was being celebrated in the church, one of the over 20 sites which form the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Historic Centre of Macau.
The Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC), Fire Services Bureau (CB) and Lands, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) dispatched staff to inspect the damage after the incident. Speaking to reporters outside the church after the cave-in, Chan Chong, who heads the Cultural Affairs Bureau’s Division for Cultural Heritage Conservation, said a preliminary investigation showed that the church’s main structure was not affected by the collapse, adding that the recent torrential rain was the possible cause. The bureau will “completely check and repair the church”, according the IC statement.
An IC spokesman surnamed Lam said the Roman-Catholic church would be closed for at least three days.
The yellow-walled church in Largo de Santo Agostinho was originally built by Spanish Augustinians in 1591.