The deadly Enyobeni tavern tragedy, which killed 21 young people at Scenery Park on Sunday morning, was not an accident, say the people who lived through it. Instead, they say, it was "well-planned murders." Three people who survived the tragedy told News24 that a bouncer kept dumping the bodies of those who died outside the door before locking it. This happened while more than 200 desperate partygoers were trapped inside the overcrowded bar, screaming, coughing, and gasping for air.
Bhongolethu Ncadana and Mbulelo Rangile, two friends of the three, died during the event. Seven of their friends walked with them from Gompo township to the tavern. Five people, including 17-year-olds Afika Sebisi, Luthando Ncandana, and Mbasa Mpafi, 18, were lucky enough to get out of the tavern without getting hurt.
Ncandana said that right before chaos broke out, he saw a woman spraying what looked like pepper spray. He was talking about the last few seconds before tragedy struck.
I saw a woman using pepper spray, and we think they may have also used tear gas. People began to scream. "I was on the highest level. I tried to use the wooden stairs to get to the bottom floor, where the noise was coming from, but I couldn't get through the crowd, Ncandana said.
He said that a group of people trying to escape from the bottom floor pushed him back. Ncandana said, "I turned around, went back up to the top floor, and jumped off the balcony." Mpafi said that he, too, jumped off the balcony to get away.
But the teen was too upset to talk about what had happened. Sebisi, who was outside at the time, saw things in a different way. He said, "It was a planned killing.
"First, the DJs left the bar while the music was still playing out of control. Then the lights went out and people started screaming and coughing," said Sebisi.
He also said that the area didn't have any power cuts. "We looked around, and all the lights from other houses and the streetlights were still on," Sebisi said. All three friends agreed that what happened wasn't a mistake. During the chaos, the witnesses also said that a strong bouncer stopped people from entering or leaving the club.
Twenty-one young people, mostly teens, died at the tavern in the early hours of Sunday for no clear reason. The three people said they were among the 400 people who came to the small, two-story bar for an event with free WiFi and rounds of drinks. Images of dead people's bodies on the dance floor, on tables, and in chairs have shocked people all over the world.
The police have opened a case file and are looking into what happened.
News24 knows that the police are also looking into claims that the kids smoked a hookah pipe with a poison in it. The provincial health department did autopsies on the bodies on Sunday night and sent samples to a lab to find out what caused the deaths. The department also said that some of the survivors were treated for headaches, backaches, tight chests, and vomiting. Sunday, the owner of a tavern, Siyakhangela Ndevu, told reporters that he wasn't there when the tragedy happened and that he was just as shocked as everyone else.On Monday, people tried to talk to him but couldn't.
The Eastern Cape police said that members of the community told them about the incident at 4:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 26. In a statement, the police said that they don't want to make any guesses about what happened because that could hurt the sensitive investigation that is going on. People thought the kids might have drunk poison or breathed in poisonous fumes.
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