An Israeli woman mistakenly threw out a mattress with $1 million stuffed inside, setting off a frantic search through tons of garbage at a number of landfill sites, media sources reported Wednesday.

The woman told Army Radio that she bought her elderly mother a new mattress as a surprise on Monday and threw out the old one, only to discover that her mother had hidden her life savings inside. She was identified only as Anat, a resident of Tel Aviv.

When she went to look for the mattress it had already been taken by garbage men, she said. Subsequent searches at three different landfill sites turned up nothing.

Yitzhak Borba, the dump manager, told the radio station that his staff was helping the woman, saying she appeared totally desperate. He said the mattress was hard to find among the 2,500 tons of garbage arriving at the site every day.

He said he increased security at the site to keep would-be treasure hunters at bay.

For her part, Anat said it could be worse. "People have to take everything in proportion and thank God for the good and the bad," she said.