According to Reuters, Twenty-one youths found dead in a tavern In South Africa’s east coast over the weekend, may have died of poisoning from a gas leak
The deaths of the teenagers at a popular nightclub outside east London sparked an outpouring of grief in a poor community, while some relatives of the victims expressed anger that weeks-long calls for the tavern to be closed, went unheeded.
According to reports, all the victims were teenagers and the youngest was a 13-year-old girl. There were also several survivors, some taken to the hospital, others left unharmed.
Currently, little has been shared on the subject as a spokesperson for the forensics team declined to comment on any aspect of the investigation until the final report.
The Eastern Cape Provincial Government said in a statement that “Autopsies were performed on the 21 youths who died and samples were sent to a laboratory for examination.”
The Eastern Cape National Police branch said in a statement that “the investigation into the deaths of 21 children at Taverna Enyobeni is ongoing” and that an official report will be made available to family members and the public “at the appropriate time”.
Investigators are looking at the crime scene for clues as to how exactly the youths died. Authorities had previously ruled out a stampede, saying they were likely accidentally poisoned by something they ate, drank or smoked.
The Reuter’s source, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media, explained that they were working on the theory that the teenagers were poisoned by an unidentified gas in a poorly ventilated room on the first floor.
He said tests were under way to determine whether the deaths were the result of carbon monoxide poisoning, possibly from burning propane or other petroleum products in the pub.
When the bodies were dissected, a strange chemical odor emanated, the source said, but it was unclear what chemical it was. “Police examined all equipment at the scene,” he added.
The Eastern Cape Health Agency was quoted by local media on Tuesday that some of the victims who were taken to the hospital had complained of symptoms, including chest and back pain.