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22 found dead in South African tavern, officials say

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(EAST LONDON, South Africa) — At least 22 people were found dead in a South African tavern early on Sunday morning, officials said.

South African authorities say nearly two dozen teens likely died due to something they drank, ate or smoked.

Investigators ruled out the possibility of a stampede. Four people are still in critical condition. The youngest of the victims was 13 years old.

The South African Police Service said they were found dead inside a local tavern in Scenery Park in the area of East London, according to Police Spokesperson Brigadier Tembinkosi Kinana said.

“We received this report in the early hours of this morning. The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation,” Kinana said. “We do not want to make any speculation at this stage as our investigations are continuing.”

Police responded to the Enyobeni Tavern at about 4 a.m. local time, Kinana said, and were combing the scene for evidence midday. Scenery Park is in East London, a city in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province.

Kinana said the dead were between up to 20 years old.

The youngest victim was 13, South African Police Service Spokesperson Col. Athlenda Mathe told reporters.

ABC News’ Christine Theodorou contributed to this report.

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