At least 20 young people have been found dead at a South African nightclub.
South African police are scrambling to work out exactly what happened as ‘there are no visible open wounds to those dead’, who are aged between 18 and 20.
Bodies were found on Sunday (26 June) at the Enyobeni Tavern, which is located in South Africa's East London city.
According to the BBC, a large number of emergency service personnel are currently on the scene.
Indida kufa abangu22 eNyobeni Tavern, eScenery Park, Eastern Cape. Abazibonele ngawabo bathi izidumbu bezigcwele yonke indawo, kodwa zingekho izimpawu zokulimala.— Isolezwe Newspaper (@IsolezweNews) June 26, 2022
Amaphoyisa nabazimo eziphuthumayo babizelwe kule ndawo. pic.twitter.com/p0gZUXGyai
A police spokesperson confirmed ‘circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation as we speak’, and relatives of victims have so far been unable to see their bodies.
Nomthetheleli Lilian Mene, the Eastern Cape Police Commissioner, told SABC News that ‘there was an alleged stampede inside the tavern’, however, the BBC notes that it has not been able to verify the claim.
According to SABC, four people have so far been taken to hospital and eyewitnesses say bodies inside the venue appear to have collapsed on the floor.
The BBC also reports that Brigadier Tembinkosi Kinana told Newzroom Africa: "We do not want to make any speculations at this stage,” while a spokesperson for Eastern Cape's health department told News24 that dead bodies had been transported to nearby mortuaries.
The province's premier Oscar Mabuyane said: "We can't believe it... Young people who were not sick, young people who should be with their families enjoying their winter holidays - they just have lost their lives like that.”
The Guardian reports that Kinana confirmed: “We got a report about 17 [people] that died in a local tavern in Scenery Park which is based in East London.
“We are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.”
The paper adds that Unathi Binqose, an Eastern Cape provincial community and safety department official, ruled out a stampede as the cause of the deaths.
Binqose said: “It’s difficult to believe it’s a stampede as there are no visible open wounds to those dead.”
DispatchLive, a local newspaper, reported that ‘bodies are lying strewn across tables, chairs and on the floor; with no obvious signs of injury’.
The Guardian also said police officers were seen trying to calm down a crowd of parents who had gathered outside the club, while Binqose added: “Parents whose children did not sleep home are gathered here and they want to enter the tavern to look for their loved ones.”
UNILAD has approached the South African police for comment.
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