‘Doors closed and chemical agent released into the air’ killing 21 teens at bar

Mystery surrounds the deaths of 21 underage teenagers who died at a popular nightclub after the doors were allegedly "suddenly closed and some type of chemical agent was pumped inside".

Of the 21 people who died, 17 were already dead when emergency services arrived at the Enyobeni Tavern in Scenery Park, a suburb on the edge of East London in South Africa's Eastern Cape province, on June 26.

Victims, who ranged in age between 13 and 17, were reportedly found strewn over the tables in the night time venue, police said.

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They had no visible signs of injury and had been out to celebrate the end of June school exams, local reports said.

No arrests have been made and no suspects have been named in connection with the probe, according to police.

"There are no new developments at this stage," Brig. Tembinkosi Kinana, a spokesperson for the South African Police Service, told ABC News yesterday (Tuesday, July 5).

"At an appropriate time and once the [toxicology] results are out, a formal statement will be issued. It has not yet been determined as to when the results will be out."

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However, a 22-year-old Scenery Park resident, Sibongile Mtsewu, who was at the bar said he was ordering drinks when suddenly the doors were closed and some type of chemical agent, such as tear gas or pepper spray, was released into the air.

"There was no way out," Mtsewu told ABC News in a telephone interview last week. "There was no chance to breathe."

Toxicology reports were still pending as of today (Wednesday), ABC reported.

The Eastern Cape Liquor Board has opened a criminal case against the owners of the Enyobeni Tavern for allegedly selling alcohol to minors. All of those who died were under the legal drinking age of 18.

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