By Tess Nichol and Luke Kirkness
A shocked motorist was horrified to witness a ‘BODY BAG’ fly out of the boot of a hearse at a busy intersection.
The horrified driver, who captured the macabre moment on dashcam footage, believed a dead body was on the stretcher as it rolled through the busy junction in Auckland, New Zealand, yesterday (WEDS).
Undertakers responsible for the morbid mishap have since insisted there was no corpse on the gurney when the clip was filmed and the incident is now being investigated.
The motorist, who did not wish to be named, said he assumed a piece of timber or a heavy item had fallen from the car when he heard a bang – and did not expect to see what looked like a body.
He added: “I was a bit shocked really.
“I heard this noise, and the next thing you know I see the stretcher with the body on it flying through the intersection.”
An employee at a nearby petrol station was behind the till serving a customer and said he looked outside to see the driver loading the gurney and body bag back into the hearse.
He too believed there was a body inside, describing the scene as “crazy”.
The dramatic video shows a large black hearse with its boot flying open as it rounded a corner at the intersection of Sandringham Rd and Balmoral Rd at about 12.45pm yesterday.
Following closely behind is what the motorist thought was a body wrapped in a black body bag on a gurney, which rolls through the intersection at speed before coming to a halt at the side of the road.
The hearse, its boot still open, pulls up in front of the gurney and the driver runs out with his phone pressed to his ear.
The driver then picks up the body bag and puts it back in the hearse, helped by a passing motorcyclist.
But Craig Little, managing director of Davis Funerals, has insisted there was no body inside the bag when the video was filmed.
He said: “We have a vinyl square pillow to lay people’s head and at the foot-end of that stretcher there is a metal bar that can look like people’s feet.”
Mr Little said the hearse driver was returning to the funeral home on Dominion Rd with an empty body bag but had unfortunately failed to close the boot properly before driving off.
When he accelerated at the intersection, the stretcher fell out.
The Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand said the incident was a “rare mistake” which was being investigated by the funeral home.
Chief executive Katrina Shanks said she was adamant that it would not have happened if there was a body inside.
She said: “If there was a deceased person that was being transported it would not have happened, as the system would have been different.
“It can be upsetting to members of the public, the funeral home is looking at it very seriously and that’s all we can do at this stage.
“Obviously no one wants to lose anything in the middle of an intersection, let alone a stretcher out the back.
“I know that the company that is involved is looking at their policies and process and implementing additional training on top of what they already do, to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.
“It was a basic human error, but the most important thing is that we believe it won’t happen again.
“It was a very unfortunate incident and I know the funeral home is looking at it very seriously.”
It’s not the first time such an incident has been captured on camera in Auckland.
In 2015, horrified onlookers saw a body fall out of the back of a hearse during a downpour in Papatoetoe – with a passerby forced to help pick the corpse up.