On Friday, a 76-year-old woman named Bella Montoya regained consciousness during her own funeral, shocking everyone in attendance.

Bella Montoya, 76, in her coffin being treated by medics

During a funeral in Ecuador, the woman believed to be dead began banging on the inside of her coffin. According to Montoya’s son, Gilbert Balberán, “[Montoya’s] left hand was hitting the side of the coffin, and it was shaking.”

The wake was being held just nine hours after Montoya was declared dead by a medical examiner, who provided Balberán with a death certificate.

Balberán reported that his mother had suffered cardiorespiratory arrest, which apparently caused her to suffer catalepsy.

Catelepsy is a condition that causes the body to go rigid, have decreased pain sensitivity, and have slower bodily functions including breathing.

Due to the symptoms she was exhibiting, those who evaluated Montoya incorrectly concluded that she had passed away.


After realizing Montoya was still alive, medics rushed to the scene and took her back to Martin Icaza Hospital in Babahoyo, Ecuador, the hospital where she had previously been declared dead.

“My mother is on oxygen. Her heart is stable,” reported Balberán. “The doctor squeezed her hand, and she reacted. They tell me this is a good sign because it means she is reacting little by little.”

“Now, I only ask that my mother’s condition improves. I want her alive and by my side,” the son added, calling the event a “miracle from God.”

A video was taken at the scene, showing medics tending to Montoya, who is clearly breathing. In the video, they take the woman out of her coffin and place her on a stretcher to take her to the hospital for treatment.

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