In a shocking turn of events, Bella Montoya, 76, was identified as dead in a Babahoyo hospital and later surprised her family by knocking on the coffin during her funeral. The Ecuadorian woman, who was a retired nurse, died after seven days in intensive care at the same hospital, according to BBC. Ecuador’s health ministry cited a possible stroke and cardiopulmonary arrest as the cause of the deceased’s death. She had been under “permanent surveillance” at the hospital, according to the ministry’s statement.
The first time she emerged alive, Gilberto Barbera, her son, told the Associated Press: “It gave us all a fright.” He continued: “There were about 20 of us there.” “After about five hours of the wake, the coffin started to make sounds. My mom was wrapped in sheets and hitting the coffin, and when we approached, we could see that she was breathing heavily,” he added.
As per BBC report, on 9 June, following her ‘death’, the woman was placed in a coffin. She was taken to the funeral parlour in Babahoyo, south-west of the capital Quito. After almost five hours, the woman stunned her family by knocking on her coffin. They found her gasping for breath.
In a video posted on social media, Montoya lies in an open casket, breathing heavily. Paramedics arrive and examine Montoya before moving her onto a stretcher and into an ambulance.
Local media reported that as a result of a condition called catalepsy, she suffered epilepsy, loss of consciousness, and rigidity in her body. This led to her death on 16 June and burial in a public cemetery shortly after. In a statement, the health ministry said that the woman fell into cardiorespiratory arrest – a loss of breathing and heart function, and did not respond to resuscitation attempts. Her death was confirmed by the doctor on duty.
Her son told the local newspaper, “This time my mother did die. My life will not be the same.” He further acknowledged that his mother was admitted at 9 am and declared dead at noon.
A commission of experts has been assembled by Ecuador’s health ministry to review the deceased’s case.
It is not the first time someone has been found alive after being pronounced dead. In February, an 82-year-old woman was discovered breathing in a funeral home in New York State, three hours after she was declared deceased.