Cape Town – Investigating authorities have reportedly revealed that the 21 teenagers who died at Enyobeni tavern over the weekend were probably accidentally poisoned, reports said.
The teenagers, eight girls and 13 boys died at the tavern, in a residential area called Scenery Park.
Seventeen were found dead at the scene, while the rest died in hospital.
Reports said that although the cause of death could not be confirmed, authorities ruled out early allegations of a stampede as the deceased allegedly did not have any external injuries.
Eastern Cape community safety spokesperson, Unathi Binqose said they were awaiting a toxicology report but ruled out a stampede as earlier reports suggested, reported the SowetanLive.
“It is either something they ingested which will point to poisoning, whether its food or drinks, or it is something they inhaled,” the report quoted Binqose as saying.
He said hookah pipes could be seen in the CCTV footage of the scene.
Reports alleged that people struggled to breathe before collapsing to their death.
According to IOL, two survivors revealed that “there was a strong smell of some type of spray” which was thought to be pepper spray in the air shortly before people started collapsing and couldn’t breathe.
A 17-year-old survivor said it was a DJ’s birthday party and were asked to wear black and white.
“While we were sitting inside at around 12am, someone sprayed pepper spray and we ran out. We didn’t see who sprayed the pepper spray but we were told it was the owner and he wanted us to leave. We left and went to another place. When we came back again, the door was locked and the bouncer wouldn’t let us in because it was already packed inside,” the survivor was quoted as saying.
She only saw on Facebook in the morning that some of her friend who were there died.
According to News24 Eastern Cape Liquor Board (ECLB) was taking necessary steps to deal with Enyobeni tavern, including immediate revocation of the liquor license and laying criminal charges against the license holder.
Charges included the contravention of the Eastern Cape Liquor Act which clearly stipulated that no alcohol shall be sold to persons under the age of 18.
Compiled by Olwethu Mpeshe