An elderly Ecuadoran woman has made headlines worldwide after waking up inside her coffin at her own wake. Bella Montoya, 76, was declared dead at the Martin Icaza public hospital in the coastal town of Babahoyo on Friday. However, she woke up after a five-hour wake, shocking her family and friends.

The Incident:

Montoya’s son, Gilbert Balberán, described the horrifying moment when he realized that his mother was still alive. “She was hitting the box with her left hand,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it.” The family had been praying and remembering Bella when suddenly the unthinkable happened.

Balberán had to arrange for the donation of a coffin for his impoverished family after the hospital declared Montoya dead. “They even gave us a death certificate,” he said. Bella had been in the coffin for five hours before she woke up.

View the incident here

Medical Explanation:

Montoya was admitted to the hospital with a suspected stroke and went into cardiorespiratory arrest. Despite efforts, the doctor on duty confirmed her death. However, it is now believed that she may have been in a coma. Symptoms of a stroke, such as loss of consciousness, could have contributed to the misdiagnosis, and limitations in medical tests might have failed to detect signs of life.

Reactions from Family and Friends:

Montoya’s family and friends are both shocked and grateful. “It’s a miracle, truly a second chance at life,” says a close family friend. The community has rallied around the family, offering support and prayers.

Context and Other Cases:

Montoya’s case is not entirely unique. There have been other rare instances where individuals have been declared dead and later found to be alive. These cases often involve medical complexities and highlight the challenges in accurately determining death.


Montoya’s case is a rare but fascinating example of someone who has woken up after being declared dead. It raises thought-provoking questions about the nature of death and life, medical ethics, and our understanding of consciousness. It is still unclear what caused her to go into a coma, but her family and friends are hopeful for her recovery. Her story serves as a profound reminder of the fragility of life and the mysteries that still elude modern medicine.

The engaging and informative style, along with the additional details and context, aims to provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of this astonishing incident. Let me know if there are any other changes or additions you would like!