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‘Dead’ woman rushed to hospital after relatives heard her banging on coffin during her own wake
13 June 2023, 11:17
An elderly woman who was declared dead at a hospital in Ecuador left relatives reeling in horror when she started banging on the inside of her coffin during her wake.
Bella Montoya, 76, had been declared dead by a doctor in the city of Babahoyo following a suspected stroke.
Her son Gilberto Barbera said his mother was unconscious when she arrived at the hospital’s A&E and a few hours later she was declared dead and a doctor handed over identity documents and a death certificate.
She was put in a coffin and taken to a funeral parlour, where relatives held a vigil before her planned burial - but they started to hear strange sounds.
"It gave us all a fright. After about five hours of the wake, the coffin started to make sounds,” her son said. 'My mom was wrapped in sheets and hitting the coffin, and when we approached we could see that she was breathing heavily.
"My mum started to move her left hand, to open her eyes, her mouth; she struggled to breathe,” he said.
Video taken by mourners showed the woman lying in the casket struggling to breathe, while they waited for an ambulance.
Her son told Ecuadorean media that she was in intensive care.
Ecuador's health ministry has set up a committee to investigate the incident.
In February, an 82-year-old woman was found to be breathing while lying in a funeral home in New York state. She had been pronounced dead three hours earlier at a nursing home.