A 50-year-old South African man woke up inside a mortuary over the weekend and screamed to be let out - scaring away attendants who thought he was a ghost. His family presumed he was dead when they could not wake him on Saturday night and contacted a private morgue in a rural village in the Eastern Cape. He spent almost 24 hours inside the morgue, the region's health department spokesman said.
The two attendants later returned and called for an ambulance. The man - whose identity has been withheld - was treated in hospital for dehydration. "Doctors put him under observation and concluded he was stable," Eastern Cape health spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said.
"He did not need further treatment." Mr Kupelo said the man woke up at 1700 local time (1500 GMT) on Sunday, demanding to be let out of the chilly morgue in Libode village, frightening the attendants on duty. "At first the men ran for their lives," said Mr Kupelo.
Officials have urged the public to contact doctors or the emergency services so they can they can pronounce someone dead before calling an undertaker. "You begin to ask yourself how many other people have died like that in a morgue," said Mr Kupelo. "We need to [get] the message across to all South Africans that it is very wrong for them to conclude on their own that a person has died," he said.