A Sydney funeral home director has apologised after a coffin mix-up which led to two families farewelling the wrong person.
Mourners at the St Euphemia Greek Orthodox Church in Bankstown were left horrified when they discovered the mistake at the open casket service last Friday.
“It was only at the end when the family as a whole came up to pay their respects when they realised, ‘Hey, this is not Dad.’ And of course at that moment the trauma set in,” Euro Funeral Services Principal Spiro Haralambous told 2GB’s Ben Fordham.
The father was buried by another man’s family after a service at the All Saints Greek Orthodox Church in Belmore.
The other family were unaware of the mix-up. The body was exhumed from Rookwood Cemetery and has since been reburied.
Mr Haralambous said there were no excuses and he was extremely sorry for the error.
“If I could turn time back to prevent this trauma naturally I would. I am extremely apologetic for what has been inflicted on them. I’m so sorry I wouldn’t want this to happen to me,” he said.
Mr Haralambous explained to Fordham how the mix-up occurred.
“What we had was two gentleman in identical coffins. They both died on the same day and the staff put the lid on the wrong coffin.
“Each lid has a nameplate and it went on the wrong coffin.’
The deceased also wear a bracelet which is crosschecked with the coffin lid, however, in this case the date was crosschecked rather than the name.
Mr Haralambous said his staff were also distressed about the mistake and upset for the families involved.
“When I went back into the office the girls were crying. I didn’t know who to console,” he said.
“At the centre of the trauma was the family’s trauma.”