FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show Coffins Of Italian Coronavirus Patients?

Matt Noel | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows dozens of coffins containing Italians who have died from COVID-19.

Verdict: False

The photo actually shows the caskets of African migrants who died in a 2013 shipwreck off the coast of Italy.

Fact Check:

At the time of publication, the new coronavirus has claimed more than 6,800 lives in Italy, making it the country with the highest death toll.

On March 18, a post showing dozens of coffins claimed they contained the bodies of Italians who succumbed to COVID-19, the disease caused by the new virus. It uses the image to urge people to practice social distancing amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“In case you’re still not convinced to stay home for you & your beloved ones… Here’s a picture from Italy!” reads the caption.

The photo, however, actually shows the caskets of African migrants killed in a 2013 shipwreck off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa. 111 coffins were later displayed inside a nearby airport hangar where survivors paid their respects, according to USA Today. It is there that a photographer for the Italian news agency Ansa took the picture.

The ship, which was carrying over 500 people, sank after a fire was set onboard in an attempt to signal for help when they encountered motor issues and started taking on water, BBC News reported. (RELATED: Can Colloidal Silver ‘Kill’ Coronavirus?)

More than 360 people died in the shipwreck, according to The Associated Press.

Matt Noel

Fact Check Reporter
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