A Meekatharra family will hold a second funeral for their loved one today after a Health Department bungle saw them bury an empty coffin last week.
About 350 grieving friends and family said goodbye to the dead man at last week's funeral, but relatives were later told his body was still in Meekatharra hospital's mortuary.
The WA Country Health Service has launched an investigation into the sequence of events which led to the hospital releasing an empty coffin.
Midwest director Margaret Denton apologised to the family and said the situation was "totally unacceptable".
"I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the deceased's family and apologise for the distress that this has caused them," she said. "We are reviewing our procedures where deceased persons are released from hospitals for burial in small country towns.
"Information from the investigation will be used to improve systems involving the health service, undertakers or officiating persons and ensure that this doesn't happen again."
The ABC reported that the dead man's brother was left "shocked" and "angry" by the bungle.
"That Friday morning, that's when I got the phone call that the body was still in the morgue and I asked myself, 'who did we bury?'" he told the ABC.