Dozens of dead in South African bar

At least 22 young people have died under mysterious circumstances in a bar in South Africa / Dozens of dead in South African bar

Because the corpses show no injuries, poisoning is speculated to be the cause of death. / South African bar

At least 22 young people have died under mysterious circumstances after a celebration in a bar in the South African city of East London. According to the authorities, 17 bodies were initially found in the informally run bar in a township. Others died in hospital, Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe, head of the provincial government’s security service, later said on 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.

Mass panic unlikely / South African bar

A representative of the Eastern Cape Province official ruled out mass panic as the cause. “It’s hard to believe it’s a stampede as there are no visible open wounds on the dead,” Unathi Binqose, who investigated the incident at the scene, told AFP.

Gas poisoning or some other form of poisoning was speculated to be the cause of death on online networks. Binqose said the coroner would check whether there was poisoning. “One thing is certain: there were many more people than the place can normally accommodate.”

Many informal pubs in townships

The visibly shocked provincial head of government, Oscar Mabuyane, also did not comment on the cause of death, but condemned the “unfortunate” alcohol consumption. “You can’t just act like that in the middle of society and think that young people are not going to experiment,” he said.

In the townships of major South African cities, there are numerous informal pubs – so-called “shebeens” or taverns. Some are located in private homes, where safety regulations are rarely enforced. These taverns are officially allowed or at least tolerated.

Apparently celebration after final exams / South African bar

Local newspaper DispatchLive reported: “The bodies lie on tables, chairs and the floor with no obvious signs of injury.” Footage circulated on the internet, the authenticity of which could not be confirmed at first, 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. According to him, some of the victims could even be as young as 15 years old.

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