Lifestyle & Belief

"Corpse" wakes up in South African morgue

A South African man woke up in a morgue and screamed for help after his family mistakenly thought he had died.

The 50-year-old found himself zipped up in a body bag inside a mortuary chiller after his family had taken him to private undertakers on Saturday evening after they found him unconscious at home and thought he had died, the U.K.'s Daily Mail reported.

He had been lying on a mortuary trolley for 21 hours before he awoke on Sunday and screamed for help, scaring off two attendants who thought he was a ghost, it reports.

"His family thought he had died," health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo told the Sapa news agency.

"The family called a private undertaker who took what they thought was a dead body to the morgue, but the man woke up inside the morgue on Sunday at 5pm and screamed, demanding to be taken out of the cold place."

Two mortuary attendants on duty fled the building in the small town of Libode in the rural Eastern Cape as they thought it was a ghost, the agency reported.

The Daily Mail reports:

Health department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo confirmed the man had been admitted to the mortuary following a presumed asthma attack.

He said: 'The family found him not moving and totally unconscious.

'They assumed he was dead, closed his eyes and called the local undertakers.

'The mortuary sent a van round, put him inside a body bag and took him to the morgue.

'His family started making arrangements for his funeral and broke the bad news to the community.

'But the next day the man woke up.

'He was obviously very distressed when he found himself on a trolley and locked inside a fridge.

An ambulance was called to attend to the man, who had "been exposed to extreme cold for nearly 24 hours", Mr Kupelo said.

He urged people to seek medical attention in such circumstances, AFP reports.

"Doctors, emergency workers and the police are the only people who have a right to examine the patients and determine if they are dead or not."