The cause of the tragedy remains unknown
At least 22 people were found dead in a nightclub in the South African city of East London on Sunday. The cause of the deaths is unclear, and no obvious signs of injury on the bodies have been reported.
Emergency workers were called to the Enyobeni Tavern in the early hours of Sunday morning, and arrived to find bodies "lying strewn across tables, chairs and on the floor; with no obvious signs of injury," according to the Daily Dispatch, a South African news site.
The newspaper said that its reporters have been informed that 22 people died. With no visible wounds or injuries, it is speculated that the deceased were either exposed to some kind of toxic substance, or were injured and killed in a stampede.
However, Police Minister Bheki Cele told News24 that "by the looks of things, there was no stampede." A local resident told the South African news network that "it was definitely not a stampede. Some bodies were still in their chairs while others were found lying on the floor."
"We are going to immediately be embarking on autopsies so we can know the probable cause of death," a spokesperson for the Eastern Cape Department of Health told Reuters.
Police told reporters outside the tavern that those who died were aged between 18 and 20. According to the Associated Press, they had been celebrating the end of school exams.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa referred to the dead as "teenagers." In a post on Twitter, Ramaphosa expressed his "deepest condolences" to the families of the dead, remarking that the "tragedy is made even more grave by its occurrence during Youth Month - a time during which we celebrate young people."