A Mossel Bay mother woke up on Thursday morning to the horror of finding her two sons and her younger sister dead.

They had suffocated overnight from inhaling smoke from a coal fire that was lit the night before to keep their KwaNonqaba home warm.

Southern Cape police spokesman Malcolm Pojie said the mother, Phumla Kiewiets, 27, was taken to the Mossel Bay hospital in a shocked but stable condition and was treated for smoke inhalation.

The deceased were identified as Zanoxolo, 6, Kwanele, 3, and Wendy, 13.

“The mother of two of the deceased tried to wake them up (Thursday) morning but they did not respond. With further investigation she realised that they had died during the night.

“Preliminary investigation indicates that they made a coal fire in their bedroom to counter the cold weather conditions,” Pojie said.

He said the children suffocated due to the toxicity of the smoke they had inhaled while sleeping. An autopsy and inquest investigation will still be conducted.

Provincial health emergency medical services spokeswoman Angelique Jordaan said: “An adult (female) in a stable condition was treated on the scene for smoke inhalation and transported to the Mossel Bay Hospital. The bodies of the deceased were taken to the Mossel Bay Forensic Pathology Service facility.”

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Cape Argus