Novi Sad – A Serbian funeral director is facing legal action after organising the burial of a man who was still alive.

The mistake was noticed only as the coffin was being lowered into the ground, prompting angry scenes from grieving relatives.

The family from Novi Sad in Serbia had been told that the head of their family, Bogoljub Topalovic, 84, had died in hospital. But the body of another man who had died at the same hospital was in the coffin.

Mourners realised a mistake had been made when Bogoljub rang his daughter on her cellphone during the funeral service to ask why no one had been to visit him for a few days.

Bonus-hunting medical staff tipped off funeral staff about deaths. A nurse scribbled the wrong name as she rushed to tell the undertaker – and claim a bonus. –

This article was originally published on page 1 of Cape Times on February 14, 2006

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