Iraq: Man ‘dragged into ambulance, dumped in freezer’

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption It’s not known how long Dr Massoud was in the freezer

A 70-year-old man was declared dead and then dragged into the ambulance, only to be found alive hours later in a morgue freezer in Irbil, Iraq.

The Reuters news agency quoted Farid Iskandar Al-Samarrai as saying he was among the first ambulance staff to reach the morgue after an attempt to kill himself.

The incident is still under investigation.

No-one was immediately available to comment from the official Press Iraqi website.

Saad Sabban, who had been drinking, told reporters his genitals had been turned blue and he was struggling with the adrenaline high.

“I remember how I heard my friends saying ‘you’ve died’, so I got up and went over to the ambulance,” he said.

“The ambulance driver pushed the button to open the freezer. I remember the cold in there, and I got in. When I was in there the paramedics started screaming and I kept screaming.”

Dr Al-Samarrai added: “We don’t know what happened to him.”

He said he had asked the police to do an investigation and “destroy all the documents” from the morgue.

BBC Middle East correspondent Hugh Schofield said Iraqi men in Iraq had a deep-rooted tradition of drinking alcohol, something banned by the Islamic State group.

He said liquor was also widespread in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, where alcohol was often served in bars and restaurants in public places.

In 2013, a 60-year-old man was reported to have been found alive after a three-day, four-night funeral celebration.

In 2007, a 20-year-old man was turned unconscious by two men and put into the morgue freezer, while waiting for a burial, reports the New York Times.

BBC News reports that 33 Iraqis died in the UK last year of alcohol-related problems, compared with 40 the previous year.

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