Fact check: Poisonous bees attack caused deaths in India?

India, Nicaragua, bee attack ,  gas leak

The videos show a bee attack in Nicaragua and victims of a gas leak incident in India.



By AFP

Published: Sun 31 May 2020, 2:40 PM

Last updated: Sun 31 May 2020, 9:03 PM

Six video clips and two images have been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook alongside a claim they show poisonous bees attacks that caused deaths in India. The claim is false; one of the videos shows a bee attack at a shopping mall in Nicaragua; three of the videos show victims of a gas leak incident in India; one clip shows bees in New York City and the final video shows a hornet attacking a rat that has circulated online since at least 2018. The pictures are stock photos of an Asian giant hornet
The videos and pictures were posted on Facebook on May 13, 2020. The post has been shared more than 600 times.

The post's Malay-language caption translates to English as: "Fatal Attack of Poisonous Bees Causes People to Die In India. Dead Bodies Due to Bees' Stings In Less Than 1 Minute.

"According To The Information We Received The Incident Occurred This Morning (10/05) India Time."

A similar claim about killer bees in India was also shared with this video on Facebook on May 13, 2020. It includes two of the clips in the other misleading post and adds two different ones.

A similar footage with a similar claim was also shared in Indonesian on Facebook here, here and here.

The claim is false. Three of the videos show victims of a gas leak in India; one clip shows a bee attack in Nicaragua; one shows swarming bees in New York City; and one clip shows a hornet attacking a rat that has circulated since at least 2018. The photos are stock photos of an Asian giant hornet.


First video

A reverse image search on Google using the digital verification tool, InVID-WeVerify,  followed by a keyword search found an earlier version of the video posted on Facebook here on April 4, 2020. It was recorded at Metrocentro Managua, a shopping mall in Managua, Nicaragua, here.

Two tweets on the same day - this one and this one - referenced a bee attack at the Metrocentro shopping mall on the same day.

The Central Z-1 Fire Department in Managua, located around 2.5 kilometers from the shopping center, posted that the incident had happened outside Metrocentro shopping mall.


When contacted by AFP, the fire department explained the incident was caused by Africanised bees. "The video and photos correspond to the same day (April 4) and indeed there has been no attention in that center (shopping center) in recent days, it has been the only one in the year and in recent years," a spokesman said.  

The scenery seen in the first video matches this panoramic photo of Metrocentro that is tagged to the location on Google Maps.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the first video in the misleading posts (L) and this photo from Google Maps (R):
The fire department also shared a photo that shows the name of the shopping mall, Metrocentro, in its Facebook post.

Second video

A reverse image search on Google found the scene in the footage also appeared in this news clip published by Indian news channel Prag News on YouTube on May 7, 2020.



The video's caption reads: "11 dead, 1000 reportedly sick after a gas leak in a chemical plant in Vizag. The incident has been compared to Bhopal Gas Tragedy." Vizag refers to Visakhapatnam, a city in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

The deadly gas leak on May 7, 2020, at a chemical plant in Visakhapatnam killed at least 12 people and left hundreds more hospitalised, AFP reported.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the second video in the misleading posts (L) and the Prag News video (R):


Third video

A reverse image search on Google found that the footage was published on May 7, 2020 here on the Facebook page of France TV New Delhi, the New Delhi bureau of French public television channel France TV 2.

The French-language title of the video says: "India: gas leak in a chemical factory."


The caption's first sentence states: "In the middle of the night, a gas leak occurred at the LG Polymers plant in the city of Visakhapatnam in southeast India."


 Fourth video

A Google reverse image search using a screenshot from a clip showing people lying on the ground found it was published on a YouTube channel called "NR ADVERTISEMENTS" here, titled: "Toxic gas leakage from LG polymers | Creates High Tension @Vizag | Vizag Gas Leak Video | NRA".

The exact footage can be seen from the one-minute 20-second mark of the video.
Below is a screenshot comparison of the fourth video in the misleading posts (L) and the YouTube video (R):


 

From the same footage, a car can also be seen with a license plate beginning AP31.

AP31 is among the official first characters for license plates for Visakhapatnam, as stated here on the Government of Andhra Pradesh's website.



Fifth video

A reverse image search and keyword search for the fifth clip, which shows bees swarming on a street, found the footage that was previously posted on Instagram came from this Facebook post published on May 6, 2020. The Spanish-language caption says: "This happened at 204 and Valentíne an outbreak of bees."
"204" and "Valentíne" refers to E 204th St dan Valentine Ave at the Bronx, New York City.
Below is a screenshot comparison of the clip from the misleading posts (L) and the Facebook video (R):
Screenshot comparison of the fifth video from the misleading posts (L) and the Facebook video (R)
 A Google Street View of the location here also shows the C-Town Supermarkets, as seen in the video.

Sixth video

The video shared in one of the misleading posts in Indonesia includes a clip of a hornet attacking a rat.

A reverse image search on Google found the earliest version of the clip was published in this YouTube video in July 2018. The title reads: "Hornet Extreme Attack On The Mouse".

It is unclear where the clip was taken, but according to UK newspaper The Daily Mail, it was filmed in Gulfport, Mississippi, USA.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the clip from the misleading posts (L) and the YouTube video (R):



Screenshot comparison of the sixth video from the misleading posts (L) and the YouTube video (R)

Asian giant hornet

The two photos of an insect in the first misleading post are actually the same picture.

A Google reverse image search found they were taken from a photo of a Japanese giant hornet published on stock photo website iStock here.
Screenshot of stock photo from iStock
The picture was taken by a photographer named Kagenmi and was uploaded on June 14, 2016. Its caption reads: "Closeup macro of a Japanese giant hornet, the largest species of hornet in the world."

Below is a screenshot comparison of the pictures from the first misleading post (L and middle) and the iStock photo (R):
Screenshot comparison of the pictures from the first misleading post (L and middle) and the iStock stock photo (R)
The Japanese giant hornet is another name for the Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia).

AFP has debunked some of the videos after they were shared with other false claims in other languages: in English here, in Arabic here and in Spanish here.
 


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