Local police in the city of East London said at least 22 people were found dead at a nightclub in South Africa.
Eastern Cape Police spokesman Tembinkosi Kinana told eNCA TV that young men were among the dead.
He added that the cause of their death is currently unknown.
According to Reuters, Kinana said they were between 18 and 20, but there are also reports they may have been younger, with the AP saying they were reportedly attending a party to celebrate the end of winter school exams.
“We are going to immediately be embarking on autopsies so we can know the probable cause of death. We are talking 22 bodies right now,” Siyanda Manana, a spokesperson for the Eastern Cape provincial health department, told Reuters.
The Daily Dispatch mentioned that there was speculation that those who died were exposed to some form of poison or died in a stampede.
Unverified photos, published on social media, showed corpses without signs of injuries scattered on the club’s floor, according to AFP.
Local television showed police trying to calm a crowd gathered outside the club in the city, which is located on the Indian Ocean coast, nearly 1,000 km (620 miles) in southern Johannesburg.
The nightclub’s owner, Siyakhangela Ndevu, told eNCA he was called to the scene early Sunday morning.
“I am still uncertain about what really happened, but when I was called in the morning I was told the place was too full and that some people were trying to force their way into the tavern,” he said.
“However, we will hear what the police say about the cause of death.”
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his condolences to the affected families.
In a statement, he said he was concerned about circumstances in which young people, who may be under 18, are allowed to congregate at the bar, but said the law should take its course once investigations are over.