Cape Town – A drinking binge ended in tragedy when two pals shared a can of expired pilchards.
Now one is dead and the other is fighting for his life in hospital.
The Daily Voice can reveal the friends allegedly fished the can of old pilchards from a dump near their Happy Valley home.
Police have now confiscated the empty tin.
The expiry date on the can clearly states the contents are not to be eaten after 2005.
But Flip “Billy” Blou, 41, was too drunk to notice and ate his fill on Sunday.
Within hours he died a painful death, bleeding from the ears, mouth and nose.
His friend Henry Fransman also helped himself to the expired fish after drinking heavily with Flip.
He is now recovering in hospital.
Henry’s stepmother Katarina Hendricks, 48, says she is grateful her stepson is alive after finding him in a shack.
“His face was covered in black vomit – he had vomited out this mixture of a black liquid and blood,” said Hendricks.
Drinking buddy Vuyani Goniwe, 36, said the day had started out pleasantly.
He told the Daily Voice they had each contributed R10 towards buying a R30, five-litre bottle of Cape Best wine and shared it at the Never-Never tavern.
“We were all very drunk that day but the two of them were worse, they could not even walk,” saidVuyani.
“They were carried out in a wheelbarrow. We had been drinking together the whole day.”
He said he suspects the fish, and not the wine, caused his friends to get violently ill.
“Henry brought the tin of fish and they offered some to us but I refused when I saw the expiry date,” explained Vuyani.
“When I asked them where they got it from, they told me they picked it up somewhere.”
After eating and drinking, the men were carried to a shack to sleep off their drunkenness.
Later Vuyani woke up to the sounds of Henry choking on his own blood and vomit.
“Flip also had blood coming out of his nose, mouth and ears but he was not moving at that time,” he said.
Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said an autopsy has to be conducted to establish the cause of death.
Flip’s wife Lillian Block, 31, said she and her husband regularly drank Cape Best.
“I don’t think the wine killed him because I also drink the same thing and it has never done anything to me,” she said.
“I’m heartbroken over his sudden and unexpected death.”
On Tuesday, Minister Alan Winde visited the Never-Never Tavern to investigate claims that it was the cheap alcohol that killed Flip.
Tavern owner Patrick Rasmeni, 47, says: “I was very scared when the minister showed up.”
“It was more shocking when I heard that one of the guys had died after they were here drinking.”
According to a report in the Cape Argus, Rasmeni has, however, denied that it was a product sold at his shop that caused the deaths. He allowed Winde and inspectors onto his property and showed them the liquor that the men had apparently been drinking.
The liquor is sold in 5-litre plastic containers and is manufactured by suppliers in Paarl and Stellenbosch, said Rasmeni.
“But there are always inspectors checking the batches,” Rasmeni said. “It’s very popular and I have never had a complaint before.”
Winde confirmed that everything seemed to be in order with Rasmeni’s liquor licensing, adding that the next step would be to wait for the results of the autopsy to establish exactly what had killed the two men.
Daily Voice, IOL