Police said at least 17 young people were found dead at a borough nightclub in the South African city of East London on Sunday.
“We have received a report of 17 (persons) who died at a local tavern in Scenery Park, which is located in East London,” provincial police spokesman Brigadier General Tembinkoshi Kinana told AFP.
“We are still investigating the circumstances of the incident,” he added.
According to him, the victims were between 18 and 20 years old.
Eastern Cape and security spokesman Unati Bincos, speaking from the scene, ruled out a stampede as the cause of death.
“It’s hard to believe this is a stampede as the dead don’t have any visible open wounds,” Mr. Bincos told AFP by phone.
Regional local newspaper DispatchLive reported that “bodies are scattered across tables, chairs and the floor with no obvious signs of injury.”
Unconfirmed photos posted on social media show bodies with no visible signs of injury scattered across the floor of the club.
Local television showed police trying to calm a crowd of parents and onlookers who had gathered outside a club in the Indian Ocean city, nearly 1,000 kilometers south of Johannesburg.
“Parents have gathered here whose children have not slept at home, and they want to enter the tavern to find their loved ones,” Mr Binkos said.
He said that he understood the attendees were students “celebrating hands down, a party thrown after written (high school) exams.”