Have you gotten any emails lately with photos from inside Air France Flight 447 moments before it crashed? Since last Friday, an email has been making the rounds on the Internet with 2 photo attachments claiming to have been recently recovered from a passenger’s broken camera at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean.
Although very detailed, the email was just a cruel hoax. The photos are actually screen grabs from the JJ Abrams American TV series Lost, a fictional drama about a group of plane crash survivors stranded on a mysterious island in the Pacific.
But the fake photos and the elaborate description fooled a lot of people including PAT, a television station in Bolivia. The station aired the photographs during a nightly news report. After viewers recognized the photos and called the station in protest, an embarrassed news director issued a statement apologizing and saying that the photographs came to the station via the Internet. Remember, when in trouble, blame the Internet.
Eagle eyed viewers might notice that the photographs feature well-known actress Evangeline Lilly, who plays Kate Austen from the TV series Lost. The photos are also in a wide screen format, which is more commonly used in TV and film production. And the most obvious clue that the images are fake, is the time of day. Flight 447 was a nighttime flight. The images here were clearly taken during daylight.
For comparison purposes, both the Bolivian news report and the plane crash scene from Lost can be seen below.
Here’s the exact text from the June 19th hoax email accompanying the photos:
“Feel so sad for all the passengers including the extraordinary photographer, who kept his cool even in his last moments of life and took this photo. Hats off to him!!! the world saw the disappearance of an A330 Air France during a TRANSATLANTIC flight between Rio to Paris.
Two shots taken inside the plane before it crashed. Unbelievable!
The two photos attached were apparently taken by one of the passengers, 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.
These photos were found in a digital Casio Z750, amidst the remains . Although the camera was destroyed, the Memory Stick was recovered. Investigating the serial number of the camera, the owner was 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, just 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.”
The Air France aircraft was carrying 216 passengers and a crew of 12 when it plunged into the Atlantic Ocean off of Brazil on June 1st. The origin of the hoax email has not yet been determined.
Do you think the Bolivian news director still has a job?
Frank Wilson is a retired teacher with over 30 years of combined experience in the education, small business technology, and real estate business. He now blogs as a hobby and spends most days tinkering with old computers. Wilson is passionate about tech, enjoys fishing, and loves drinking beer.