South African woman found alive in morgue refrigerator

A South African woman who was believed to be dead after an automobile accident was discovered alive inside a mortuary refrigerator, The Times of Johannesburg reported.

The woman, from Gauteng, was involved in the accident outside Carletonville in late June when the driver lost control of the vehicle. Two other occupants were killed, the Times reported.

The mistake is being investigated by the Gauteng Department of Health, Gauteng Forensic Pathology Services CEO Paul Morulethe told the newspaper.

A source told the Times that his colleagues at the mortuary had stored the bodies in the refrigerators after receiving them from Distress Alert paramedics, and were filling out forms when one worker returned to check on the bodies.

"When he pulled out the woman's body, he saw that she was breathing," the source told the Times.

The woman was immediately rushed to a hospital.

“This did not happen because our paramedics are not properly trained. There is no proof of any negligence by our crew‚” Distress Alert operations manager Gerrit Bradnick told the newspaper. “Equipment used to determine life showed no form of life on the woman.”

It was not the first time such an incident has occurred, Bradnick told the Times, "and it will happen again." He said it happened four years ago in Carletonville and again in 2016 in KwaZulu-Natal.

"These things are not meant to happen. There are protocols in place. But they do. It's a mystery as to why," Bradnick told the Times. "Thinking about her injuries, how long she lay waiting for the mortuary officials, the trip back to the morgue, then how she would have been undressed, weighed and then put in the fridge … we are just thankful she is alive."

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