Enyobeni tavern toxicology results awaited, but generator fumes 'highly unlikely' as cause of deaths

29 June 2022 - 12:08
By Sithandiwe Velaphi
Enyobeni Tavern, where 21 East London children lost their lives.
Image: MICHAEL PINYANA Enyobeni Tavern, where 21 East London children lost their lives.

The results of autopsies to determine the cause of the deaths of 21 young people at Enyobeni tavern in Scenery Park are likely to be made public before their mass funeral on Wednesday next week. 

A senior official in the Eastern Cape department of health’s forensic pathology services said: “It is highly unlikely the cause of death was fumes from a generator. However, we are waiting for toxicology results.”

Another senior official said media reports identifying generator fumes as the cause of the deaths were “completely untrue”.

eNCA reported on Wednesday morning that the cause of the deaths was likely chemical poisoning and the generator had been ruled out as behind the tragedy.

Provincial community safety spokesperson Unathi Binqose said: “The postmortems have not been concluded. We will give a public account the moment the results come out. We have to tell the public what really led to the deaths of these 21 young lives.

“This will not be kept a secret. Families will be told what happened as soon as we have all the results of samples taken from the bodies. Our plea is for the media and the public to give the experts space to do their work.”

Provincial police spokesperson Brig Thembinkosi Kinana said the investigation into the incident is ongoing.

“No new information is available at this stage and no arrests have been made. A statement will be released once there is a development.”

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