FACT CHECK: Image Claims To Show Shark Swimming Down Flooded Highway In Louisiana During Hurricane Laura

Trevor Schakohl | Legal Reporter

An image shared on Facebook over 700 times purportedly shows a shark swimming on a flooded Louisiana highway during Hurricane Laura.

Verdict: False

The shark has been superimposed into a photo of a flooded road. It is often shared in jest after hurricanes.

Fact Check:

Hurricane Laura made landfall near the Louisiana-Texas border as a Category 4 storm early Thursday, inflicting damaging winds and flooding on Lake Charles and other towns, according to ABC News. The storm, which has since weakened to a tropical depression, has killed at least six people in Louisiana, including a 14-year old girl, CBS News reported.

As the storm churned toward Arkansas, multiple Facebook users shared an image of a shark purportedly swimming down a flooded highway in Lake Charles, a city facing extensive damage caused by Hurricane Laura. The caption reads, “Shark seen swimming down I-10 in Lake Charles, LA. #HurricaneLaura2020.” (Does This Image Show A Crowded South African Beach During The COVID-19 Lockdown?)

But the photo is not authentic and has been digitally manipulated. Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact discovered the shark has been superimposed into an image of a flooded street. It comes from a photo of a great white shark trailing behind a man in a kayak that was published in a 2005 Africa Geographic magazine article.

This is not the first time social media users have shared the altered photo in the aftermath of hurricanes. The image has previously been linked on Twitter to Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Though often shared in jest, many social media users have perceived it as real on numerous occasions.

Trevor Schakohl

Legal Reporter
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