An Ecuadorean woman has died days after mourners at her funeral were shocked to find her alive in her coffin.

Bella Montoya, 76, was first declared dead by a doctor at a hospital in the city of Babahoyo last week.

But when mourners attending her wake heard her knocking on her coffin, she was immediately rushed back to the same hospital for treatment.

After seven days in intensive care, Ecuador’s health ministry confirmed she died on Friday from an ischemic stroke.

The ministry’s statement added that she had remained under “permanent surveillance” while at the hospital.

Speaking to a local newspaper, her son,Gilbert Barbera said, “This time my mother really did die. My life will not be the same.”

Following her death on 16 June, Ms Montoya was taken back to the same funeral home ahead of her burial at a public cemetery, local media is reporting.

Local media reported Ms Montaya had a condition called catalepsy – where a person experiences seizure, loss of consciousness, and the body becomes rigid.

A commission of experts has been assembled by the Ecuadorian health ministry to review her case.

Ms Montoya was placed in a coffin and taken to the funeral parlour in Babahoyo, south-west of capital Quito, after being declared dead on 9 June.

But after almost five hours inside, the woman gasped for air after her relatives opened the coffin to change her clothes for the funeral.

Minutes later, she was stretchered out by fire fighters and transferred back to the same hospital.

Bella Montoya is not the only person to “come alive” after being officially declared dead.

In February, an 82-year-old woman was found to be breathing while lying in a funeral home in New York State. She had been pronounced dead three hours earlier at a nursing home.

BBC/Simeon Ugbodovon

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