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Photo Taken 1/2 Second Before Tsunami Hit Sumatra?

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FW: 1/2 SECOND BEFORE TSUNAMI
Photo Taken 1/2 Second Before Tsunami Hit Sumatra?

Netlore Archive: Viral image purports to show a massive tsunami engulfing a residential neighborhood on the island of Sumatra.

Image source: unknown, circulating via email

Description: Viral image / Hoax
Circulating since: Feb. 2007
Status: Mislabeled (see details below)


Text example #1:
Email contributed by Jan J., Oct. 12, 2010:

Subject: 1/2 SECOND BEFORE TSUNAMI
This picture was found in a camera during cleanup.

This is a fantastic photo!! Amazing that the film was still good – or memory stick. Either one, this really tells the story. Look at how high that wall of water is!!

This picture was taken on the banks of Sumatra Island (the height of waves was of approx. 32 m = 105 ft). It was found saved in a digital camera, 1 ½ years after the disaster.

We cannot know for sure, but very likely the one who took the picture is not alive any more (it was just a matter of seconds).

Today we can see the last image he/she saw before ending life on Earth!


Text example #2:
Email contributed by Susan B., Feb. 13, 2007:

Fw: 1 1/2 SECONDS before Tsunami hit Sumatra Island

This picture was taken on the banks of Sumatra Island (the height of waves was of approx. 32 m = 105 ft). It was found saved in a digital camera, 1 month after the disaster.

We cannot know for sure, but very likely the one who took the picture is not alive any more (it was just a matter of seconds).

Today we can see the last image he/she saw before ending life on Earth!



Analysis: Hoax. The image purports to show the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004 crashing down on the island of Sumatra, but in fact the photo was taken in 2002 and shows a dust storm blowing through Griffith, NSW in Australia.

Note the reddish blotch in the lower right-hand corner. It's a clumsy attempt to hide what was originally there, namely a timestamp showing the actual date the digital photograph was taken: "12.11.2001" (see unretouched photo with original timestamp).

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the dust cloud approached the town at a speed of up to 90 kilometers an hour, quickly engulfing the town and turning the sky pitch black. Residents said the storm lasted about an hour.

See also: The above photo is reminiscent of viral images of a sandstorm that struck western Iraq in April 2005.

See also: "Amazing Picture" purporting to show the December 2004 tsunami inundating Phuket, Thailand.


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Sources and further reading:

Dust Cloud Rolls into Town, Turning a Scorching Day into Night
Sydney Morning Herald, 13 November 2002


Last updated 04/12/12

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