A WOMAN who was declared dead following a horrific car crash in South Africa is recovering in hospital after being found alive in a mortuary fridge.
The unnamed woman had been certified dead by paramedics at the scene of a pile-up in south-west Johannesburg in the early hours of June 24.
She was then taken to a morgue in nearby Carletonville and placed in a fridge having shown "no form of life" in the wake of the accident.
But shockingly, a morgue worker discovered that the woman was still breathing when he returned to check on her body several hours after the crash - which killed the other two occupants of the vehicle.
“We followed our procedures — we’ve got no idea how it happened,” Ambulance service manager Gerrit Bradnick told a Sowetan newspaper.
"We are investigating the case and we will present our findings once it has been concluded.
“The crew is absolutely devastated. We’re not in the business of declaring living people dead, we’re in the business of keeping people alive."
The woman involved is now recovering at a hospital east of Johannesburg from injuries sustained in the crash, Mr Bradnick said.
“All the right checks were done – breathing, pulse – so the patient was declared deceased," he added.
"This did not happen because our paramedics are not properly trained. There is no proof of any negligence by our crew."
A source at the Carletonville Mortuary told AFP: “Paramedics are trained to determine death, not us.
“You never expect to open a fridge and find someone in there alive. Can you imagine if we had begun the autopsy and killed her?”