Photos of Air France Plane Crash / Mid-Air Collision
Emailed photos purportedly taken inside the passenger cabin of Air France Flight 447 moments before it broke up over the Atlantic Ocean on June 1, 2009 (originally circulated as photos of Gol Airlines Flight 1907 after mid-air collision in 2006).
Description: Emailed images / Hoax
Circulating since: November 2006
Email example contributed by Brian Y., Dec. 5, 2006:
Subject: Graphic - Not For Casual Viewing
Subject: Amazing Photographs ( GOL 737 ) Accident
Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge
Last month a B737 had a mid air collision with a Embraer Legacy while cruising at 35,000 feet over South America. The Embraer Legacy, though seriously damaged, with the winglet ripped off, managed to make a landing at a nearby airstrip in the midst of the Amazon jungle. The crew and passengers of the Embraer Legacy had no idea what they had hit. The B737, however, crashed killing all crew and passengers on board.
The two photos attached above were apparently taken by one of the passengers in the B737, after the collision and before the aircraft crashed. The photos were retrieved from the camera's memory stick. You will never get to see photos like this. In the first photo there is a gaping hole in the fuselage through which you can see the tailplane and vertical fin of the aircraft. In the second photo one of the passengers is being sucked out of the gaping hole.
Photos taken inside the plane.
These photos were found in a digital Casio Z750, amidst the remains in Serra do Cachimbo. Although the camera was destroyed, the Memory Stick was recovered.
Major Antônio Nelson, from the Brazilian Air Force, is investigating how the photos leaked into the Internet, pois representam graficamente o ápice dessa tragédia, e não deveriam ter sido divulgadas.
Investigating the serial number of the camera the owner could be identified, as Paulo G. Muller, an actor of a theatre for children known in the outskirts of Porto Alegre.
It can be imagined that he was standing during the impact with the Embraer Legacy, and during the turbulence he managed to take these photos,
Seconds after the tail loss the aircraft plunged, so the camera was found near the cockpit.
The structural stress probably ripped the engines away, diminishing the falling speed, protecting the electronic equipment but not, unfortunately, the victims.
Paulo Muller leaves behind two daughters, Bruna and Beatriz, from a previous relationship.
June 2009 Update: A new variant of this 2006 hoax appeared shortly after the reported disappearance of Air France Flight 447, an A330-200 Airbus carrying 228 passengers and crew from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, on June 1, 2009.
The earliest variant of the 2009 message was prefaced as follows:
FW: 2 photos after Collision n before Death.... AIR FRANCELater variants claimed the photos were taken aboard Air France Flight 447 itself.
Few Days before the world saw the disappearance of an A330 Air Frane during a trans Atlantic flight between Rio to Paris. Very ironic that a day before I got a mail of the photos taken by a passenger on a flight mins after a mid air collision, and mins before the crash of the said aircraft. . .
2006 Analysis: Hoax. The images above are video captures from the pilot episodes of the ABC television series Lost (note the handcuffs worn by the woman pictured on the left, a character recognizable to viewers of the series as Kate Austen, played by actress Evangeline Lilly). Similar images can be seen in video trailers for the series.
The Brazilian airliner accident referenced in the email actually happened. Gol Airlines Flight 1907 from Manaus to Brasilia went down in the Amazon jungle after the Boeing 737-800 collided with a smaller private jet on September 29, 2006. None of the 154 passengers and crew survived the estimated 300 mph impact when the aircraft struck the ground. At that speed it's unlikely that a digital camera loosed in the passenger cabin would have fared any better than its owner.
No one named Paulo Muller was reported among the victims of the crash.
Origin of the hoax
The hoax originated in an October 26, 2006 posting (English translation here) by Brazilian blogger Carlos Cardoso. In a later posting (translation here) he admitted to perpetrating the hoax and maintained that he did it to demonstrate that people don't read carefully enough or apply enough skepticism to what they find on the Internet. Cardoso went on to predict that the text and images would circulate widely via email and become "the new scandal of the Internet."
Presumably he is satisfied with the results.
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Sources and further reading:
Gol Airlines Mid-Air Collision - More Than 150 Dead
About.com: Air Travel
Gol Transportes Aéreos Flight 1907
No Sign of Survivors in Brazilian Crash
Associated Press, 30 September 2006
Last updated: 06/17/09