Cape Town - A high level team of crime scene experts and bomb disposal technicians from the National Headquarters of the Criminal Record were on Sunday evening probing the deaths of 21 teenagers at a tavern in East London.
The SAPS said it ordered the deployment of maximum resources as police investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident in Scenery Park.
"On Sunday morning at about 4am police from the Scenery Park Police Station received a report of the lifeless bodies of the teenagers at a local tavern in the area.
"Upon arrival police found 17 bodies inside the building. It was later established two more died at a local clinic , one died en route to hospital and another died in hospital.
"Nine of the deceased are female while twelve of the deceased are male," SAPS said.
Police Minister Bheki Cele and the National Commissioner of the SAPS, General Fannie Masemola led a high level delegation of crime scene experts and bomb disposal technicians from the National Headquarters of the Criminal Record and Crime Scene Management Component to complement and support the Eastern Cape Crime Scene Investigations teams.
Cele engaged with local residents and with parents of the deceased at the local mortuary where the process to identify the victims was under way.
Cele called on residents and affected families to allow police investigations to unfold.
"We have an experienced team that is complementing the provincial team to ensure that we get to the bottom of what has led to the death of these young people. We are also engaging other stakeholders to investigate issues of compliance to liquor legislation," Cele said.
Police have since registered an inquest into the death of the teenagers.
Anyone who may have information pertaining what could have transpired is urged to contact police and share information on the Crime Stop number on 08600 10111.