A shocked motorist has described the moment he thought he saw a body fall out of the back of a hearse at a busy Auckland intersection.
The driver, who captured the macabre moment on dashcam footage, and a nearby petrol station worker told the Herald they believed a body was on the gurney as it rolled through the busy intersection.
However, the funeral company is adamant the body bag was empty at the time.
Dashcam footage shows a hearse with its boot flying open as it rounded a corner at the intersection of Sandringham and Balmoral Rds 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.
He is helped by a passing motorcyclist.
However, managing director of Davis Funerals Craig Little said there was no body inside.
He could understand why people might think there was a body inside, 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," he told the Herald, explaining the shape of the body bag.
The hearse driver was returning to the funeral home on Dominion Rd with an empty body bag, Little said, but had unfortunately failed to close the boot properly before driving off.
When he accelerated at the intersection, the stretcher fell out.
Describing his shock at the sight, the motorist - who did not want to be named - said he'd heard a bang while pulled up at the lights of the busy intersection about 12.45pm.
He assumed a piece of timber or some other heavy item had fallen from a car, and certainly didn't expect to see what looked like a body, he said.
• READ MORE: 'What really happens in a morgue'
"I was a bit shocked really," he told the Herald.
"I heard this noise, and the next thing you know I see the stretcher with the body on it flying through the intersection."
A nearby Caltex worker said he was behind the till serving a customer and looked outside to see the driver loading the gurney and body bag back into the hearse.
He too believed there was a body inside, he said, describing the scene as "crazy".
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 Pacific Memorials hearse during a downpour in Papatoetoe.
Pacific Memorials co-owner Carina Zhang said at the time a faulty latch was believed to be to blame.
To get the day's top stories in your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.
Disclaimer: This video is exclusively managed by Caters News. To license or use in a commercial player please contact email@example.com or call +44 121 616 1100 / +1 646 380 1615