In the South African city of East London, young people celebrate their school-leaving exams in a nightclub. In the early morning, investigators found 17 dead there, three more injured die in the hospital. The corpses show no external injuries.
At least 20 young people have died from unknown causes after a celebration at a nightclub in the South African city of East London. The incident was reported early in the morning. Local officials first confirmed that 17 bodies had been found in the Enyobeni Tavern nightclub. "Three of the injured died in hospital and two are still in very critical condition," Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe, head of the provincial government's security service, later told local television.
According to a police spokesman, the dead were between 18 and 20 years old. The cause of death was initially unclear, but the bodies apparently had no external injuries. According to reports from emergency services, there was a crowd in the club. Some eyewitnesses suspected poisoning of the pub visitors.
However, an official from the Eastern Cape province ruled out stampede as the cause. "It's hard to believe it's a stampede as there are no visible open wounds on the dead," said Unathi Binqose, who investigated the incident at the scene. "22 bodies were found on the ground. No open wounds, no nothing. We don't know if they were poisoned or if something else happened." Police have launched a forensic investigation, Eastern Cape Provincial Police Commissioner Nomthetheleli Mene told public broadcaster SABC.
Local newspaper DispatchLive reported: "The bodies lie on tables, chairs and on the floor with no obvious signs of injury." Photos circulating on the Internet, the authenticity of which could not initially be confirmed, showed bodies with no visible signs of injury lying on the floor of the bar.
Police officers were seen on local television trying to calm a crowd outside the nightclub. "Parents whose children have not slept at home have gathered here," Binqose said. Apparently it was a celebration after school-leaving exams.