Julian Bell, 44, from Easter Ross, was recovered from the water after falling from the Kessock Bridge beside Inverness.
He had been in the water for 10 minutes. The lifeboat crew tried to resuscitate him and were joined by ambulance personnel. He was pronounced dead at the scene and his body taken to Raigmore Hospital in the Highland capital.
In the mortuary, a member of the pathology staff and an undertaker believed they saw evidence to suggest he was still alive. They thought pulses could be detected in the neck and wrists and believed they had seen movement of the chest. Hospital staff tried again to resuscitate him without success.
A report by NHS Highland into the episode in June, published yesterday, said: "The deceased had suffered significant internal injuries to his lungs and liver at the time of impact with the water. These were not compatible with life.
"It was believed the deceased's heart had stopped functioning at around the time of these injuries."
It said it was possible that there was still some electrical activity within the heart "but this in itself did not indicate that the heart was pumping blood and therefore able to support life".
It suggested that resuscitation attempts may have resulted in air being pumped into the stomach, which could have moved or leaked later resulting in chest movement. The review group concluded that it was "most unlikely" that true signs of life were seen at the mortuary and it was appropriate he had been pronounced dead.