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Carbon monoxide is suspected as having caused the death of around 20 young people at a South African nightclub.
On Sunday, 26 June, multiple bodies were discovered at the Enyobeni Tavern in the town of East London, South Africa.
Around 21 people are reported as having passed away – however, the number is not yet confirmed – with the youngest victim aged just 13 years old according to police minister Bkehi Cele.
It has since been revealed through post-mortem examination that the victims are believed to have passed away as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.
After being found, the victims were immediately taken to the mortuary to undergo post-mortem examinations.
A stampede was originally suspected as a possible cause of death, however, provincial safety official Unathi Binqose explained how it had been ruled out because of no victim having any 'visible wounds'.
Samples were subsequently take by forensic investigators to 'test to see if there was any poisoning of sort' and later came back having reportedly found traces of carbon monoxide in the bodies.
Samples have been sent to the University of Cape Town for further analysis, according to the Eastern Cape health department.
UCT's forensic pathology laboratory have also been going through the contents of the victims' stomachs to try and finalise their report, a source told News24.
The results will eventually be sent to the police, according to Eastern Cape health spokesperson Yonela Dekeda.
Dekeda stressed that despite the samples being moved that Eastern Cape was capable of handling them.
"This is merely part of the routine work, that samples would be taken to Cape Town for further analysis, especially when there is an intervention at a national level," she said.
She concluded by noting the investigation is still ongoing.
Brigadier Thembinkosi Kinana, spokesperson for Eastern Cape police, echoed a similar sentiment: "The investigation into the incident is still ongoing. No new information is available at this stage and no arrest made.
"A statement will only be released once there is a development."
However, it is reported the results of the final autopsies and analysis of the samples could be revealed later today, 29 June or Thursday, 30 June.
This tragedy is made even more grave by its occurrence during Youth Month – a time during which we celebrate young people, advocate and advance opportunities for improved socio-economic conditions for the youth of our nation.— Cyril Ramaphosa 🇿🇦 (@CyrilRamaphosa) June 26, 2022
Reflecting on the incident, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his 'deepest condolences' to the victims' families.
He tweeted: "This tragedy is made even more grave by its occurrence during Youth Month - a time during which we [...] advocate and advance opportunities for improved socio-economic conditions for the youth of our nation."
UNILAD has contacted the South African police for comment.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677
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