Woman Who Was Declared Dead Found Alive After Hearing Noises in Coffin During Her Wake

by Xara Aziz

An Ecuadorian family was left frightened and shocked after their loved one was heard noises in her coffin during a memorial service in her honor.

On Friday, family and friends gathered to pay their respects to Bella Montoya, a retired nurse who they thought had passed away from a stroke and cardiac arrest.

But what was supposed to be a moment to mourn her death was instead considered a scene out of a horror movie after hearing “strange noises” coming out of the coffin. It was later discovered that she was alive and breathing.

“It gave us all a fright,” her son, Gilberto Barbera, told The Associated Press.

Montoya, 76, was initially found unconscious when she was rushed to a local hospital Friday, according to her son. When she did not respond to resuscitation, a doctor informed her family that she had died, the Ecuadorian health ministry said in a statement.

She was then transported to a funeral home where they planned her wake the same day, but family say they began to hear noises from inside the coffin.

“There were about 20 of us there,” Barbera said. “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.”

A video purports to show the woman breathing and moving her mouth up and down while inside the coffin. Two men then reached in to lift her head.  

“She was rushed back to the hospital, where she remained intubated in intensive care, the health ministry said, describing her condition as unstable,” according to an NBC News report. “Her son said doctors had not given them much hope about her prognosis.”

Following the incident, the country’s health ministry has formed a committee to investigate why she was declared dead.

The ministry further stated that it has assured Ecuadorians that it “maintains the offer of health services to the population at all levels of care.”

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