Toxic chemical methanol identified as possible cause of deathLast month at a bar in the South African city of East London. Methanol was found in all their bodies and investigations are ongoing to determine whether the level of the toxic chemical was high enough to kill them.
“Methanol has been detected in all 21 individuals, although there is still a progressive analysis of quantitative levels of methanol and whether this may be the ultimate cause of death,” said Dr Litha Mativane, Eastern Cape provincial deputy director of clinical service, said at a news conference in east London on Tuesday.
He said officials are still awaiting conclusive results that are being carried out at a laboratory in the city of Cape Town.
Methanol is a toxic form of alcohol that is used industrially as a solvent, pesticide, or alternative source of fuel. It is not used in the production of alcohol to be sold for human consumption.
It is not yet known how the youths consumed methanol.
Matiwane said alcohol poisoning and carbon monoxide inhalation have both been ruled out as possible causes of death, although traces of both were found in the bodies of all 21 victims.
The teen died in the early hours of 26 June at Enyobeni Inn in Scenery Park Township, east London.And this resulted in several investigations by the police and liquor license authorities.
There were many teenagers aged 13 to 17, their bodies are scattered on tables and sofas. He died after the others were taken to nearby health facilities.
A 17-year-old girl, who identified herself as Lolly, told Reuters news agency shortly after the incident that the tavern was popular among teenagers.
National Police Minister Bhiki Seele has said South African police will be guided by the final results of toxicology analysis to determine whether someone will face criminal charges for the 21 deaths.
Enyobeni Tavern’s owner and some employees were arrested and are currently out on bail because of charges related to violations of alcohol trade laws, including the sale of alcohol to children.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke at a mass funeral for teenagers and vowed his government would take action to stop serving alcohol to children under the age of 18.
The death of a young man in an east London bar is separate from the three bar shootings in South Africa earlier this month that killed a total of 22 people. In all three incidents, suspects opened fire on patrons before accelerating in their vehicles, and in particular the attackers did not rob the victims. In the worst case, gunmen opened fire on a bar in Johannesburg’s Soweto township, killing 16.