Imagine preparing for a funeral — only to discover your loved one isn't actually dead.
That was apparently the case in the city of Babahoyo, Ecuador over the weekend, where, as the Associated Press reports a 76-year-old woman who'd been declared dead after a stroke gasped for air when her coffin was opened.
As the story goes, the woman, Bella Montoya, had been declared dead at a local hospital and taken to a funeral parlor where her family was holding vigil for her in the hours afterward.
"There were about 20 of us there," Montoya's son, Gilberto Barbera, told the AP. "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."
Montoya, who herself is a retired nurse, was taken back to the same hospital where she'd been declared dead, with a death certificate issued.
In spite of the seemingly miraculous situation, the woman is, according to her son, still in intensive care at the hospital, and as other outlets have noted, there are some outstanding questions about the entire debacle.
In an interview with Spain's El Pais, Balbera — whose name was spelled "Gilber Balberán" by that newspaper — said that he had a feeling his mother wasn't actually dead when the hospital doctor told him she was, and he said that he wasn't allowed to see her when he asked.
That outlet added that there is currently an Ecuadorian government investigation into who, exactly, was responsible for Montoya's "supposed confirmation of death."
Montoya's doctors, according to her son, don't have much hope for a positive prognosis, which makes the situation all the more sad.
As of that reporting, her son said she "has a pulse and her heart is beating."
More on near-death experiences: Scientists Detect Surge of Brain Activity in Dying Coma Patients
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