Eight students have been found dead from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning in a village in southwestern Bosnia-Herzegovina, authorities said.
The victims were described as high school and university students between the ages of 18 and 20 who were at a New Year's Eve celebration in a holiday cottage in Tribistovo, about 150 kilometers southwest of Sarajevo.
Police officers responded to a call around 10 a.m. on January 1 and went to the cottage, where they found several people dead, local police spokeswoman Martina Medic told the Associated Press.
Milan Galic, the police commissioner of the West Herzegovina Canton, told local media that police are on the ground and that an investigation is under way.
The Council of Ministers of Bosnia-Herzegovina declared January 2 a day of mourning in the country. The West Herzegovina Canton declared three days of mourning.
The municipality of Posusje, where the village is located, said on Facebook it mourned the “eight young lives lost” and urged the owners of cafes and restaurants to close down to honor the victims.
Bosnian and Croatian media said the victims died from a poisonous gas leak apparently caused by a power generator used for heating as they celebrated New Year’s Eve in a holiday cottage.
Many people in the region are thought to have organized similar private events in order to celebrate the holiday during a lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Carbon monoxide gas is odorless and colorless and can build up in confined spaces when generators or gas heaters are used.