Funeral mourners were horrified when their relative’s coffin collapsed as it was being moved and left her body exposed on the pavement.

 

Bertha Elena Lara de Barreta had died aged 83 after suffering a heart attack.

 

Her body was in a coffin ready to be transferred to the cemetery of Jardines de la Eternidad (Eternity Gardens) in the city of Barranquilla, in the northern Colombian department of Atlantico.

 

But the coffin had been made with poor-quality materials and broke during the funeral.

 

Peter Barreto Lara, one of her four children, said: "This is recorded in our minds for ever and hurt us a lot.

 

"It was horrible, we were about to bury our mother, and when the coffin was being got out of the funeral car by my brothers and another person, it broke from the bottom and my mother fell to the ground. People ran away very fast."

 

Eduardo, one of her other sons, added: "Some people ran, others laughed, others spit. It was like a show."

 

A video shows relatives trying to get the body into a replacement coffin but it proves too heavy so Eduardo puts the top of the broken coffin over his mother and covers it with a plastic sheet.

 

He said of the harrowing experience: "It took 45 minutes to put her inside a new coffin. There were relatives and friends who felt very awkward because they could not do anything to help.

 

"I took some plastic and covered my mother with it as she could be seen by all of us.

 

"There was a kind of liquid coming out of her, we did not know what it was, which could have made the wood of the coffin wet and therefore collapse."

 

According to local media, the relatives have received no apology from the undertakers and plan to sue them.

MartinaSalas's picture

Author: Martina Salas

I am a journalist focus in human interest stories from Spain and Latin America.
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