Woman pronounced dead wakes up in morgue

A South African woman has been discovered alive in a morgue shortly after being declared dead in a car crash.

The woman was found breathing by mortuary technicians several hours after being certified dead by paramedics at the scene of the pile-up outside Carletonville, southwest of Johannesburg.

“We followed our procedures – we’ve got no idea how it happened,” Distress Alert operations manager Gerrit Bradnick told AFP.

“The crew is absolutely devastated – we’re not in the business of declaring living people dead, we’re in the business of keeping people alive.”

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The unnamed woman from Gauteng had “showed no signs of life” following the traffic accident in the early hours of 24 June, Mr Bradnick added.

Carletonville mortuary in South Africa where the woman was found alive
Carletonville mortuary in South Africa where the woman was found alive

She was found alive in a morgue fridge several hours after the crash in which the victims’ car rolled, throwing all three occupants out of the vehicle – killing two of them.

“All the right checks were done – breathing, pulse – so the patient was declared deceased,” Mr Bradnick said.

After being discovered alive, the woman was taken to Carletonville hospital where she is now recovering.

“Paramedics are trained to determine death, not us,” a source at the Carletonville mortuary told the Sowetan newspaper.

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“You never expect to open a fridge and find someone in there alive. Can you imagine if we had begun the autopsy and killed her.”

The company has launched an investigation.