A car crash victim was declared dead by two paramedics, who then left the scene, leaving him trapped in the wreckage—only for other emergency responders to find the man alive more than an hour later.
The 30-year-old, who crashed his Porsche early Sunday in Melbourne, Australia, was being loaded into a coroner's van when it was noticed that he still had a faint pulse.
While the victim remains in critical condition in a Melbourne hospital, ambulance chiefs pledged to hold an internal inquiry to discover how the extraordinary mistake occurred.
"Obviously this is a very serious incident and our paramedics are devastated about what's happened," Ambulance Victoria regional manager Simon Thomson told Australian public broadcaster the ABC.
"The paramedics—based on the information they had at the time—said that there were no signs of life, and obviously reflecting on that there has been a mistake. These are two very experienced paramedics."
Tow truck operator Trevor Oliver said the man was left hanging upside down in his mangled car for about an hour before being pulled on to the ground and covered in black plastic.
"After a while the police told the SES [State Emergency Service] crews to remove the driver, who at this stage was supposedly deceased, from the vehicle," Oliver said.
"The SES removed the driver from the vehicle and put him on the ground and covered him in black plastic where he most probably lay for another hour or half hour.
"The coroner's contractor turned up to remove the body and it was when they went to move the body into the coroner's van that they noticed that the driver had a very weak pulse."
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