On Sunday, according to officials, seventeen young adults were discovered dead in a nightclub in the South African city of East London, with three more passing away later in a hospital.
Authorities are investigating the cause of death as none of the bodies exhibited evidence of trauma.
The police spokeswoman for the province of Eastern Cape, Brig. Thembinkosi Kinana stated, "We got a report about 17 [people] that died in a local tavern in Scenery Park, which is based in East London,"
"We are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident," he told the AFP.
Later on Sunday, Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe, head of the provincial government's safety department, reported that the death toll had climbed to twenty.
"The number has risen to 20, and three deaths have occurred in hospitals. However, there are still two very crucial individuals "she told the local press.
Unathi Binqose, a representative of the provincial department of community and safety, stated that there was no evidence that a stampede caused the deaths.
"It's difficult to believe it's a stampede as there are no visible open wounds to those dead," Mr. Binqose told the South African news station Newzroom Afrika.
"Maybe a stampede would have happened afterwards when people saw others were collapsing ... which may have led to the death of some, but we're finding it hard to believe that some have died due to a stampede."
The regional publication DispatchLive said the dead were discovered "lying strewn across tables, chairs and on the floor; with no obvious signs of injury."
Mr. Binqose stated that several of those discovered at the scene were under 18. He believed the attendees were students "celebrating 'pens down, a party held after writing [high school] exams."
The club's owner will "have a lot to answer to," he said.
East London is a city on the Indian Ocean coast around 1,000 kilometers south of Johannesburg.
Mr. Binqose stated, "Parents whose children did not sleep at home are gathered here and they want to enter the tavern to look for their loved ones,"
This is a crime scene, and no one is permitted to enter.