'Shipwreck British woman saved by Google Earth’: There’s something fishy about story of Gemma Sheridan rescued from desert island
Amazing '#truestory' widely shared on social media - but is it real?
The extraordinary story of Gemma Sheridan, a woman from Liverpool saved by Google Earth after seven years stranded on a desert island, has whipped up a storm among social media users – despite being quite spectacularly fake.
Posted on the website News-Hound.org, it claimed Ms Sheridan and two friends had embarked on a voyage to Hawaii when they met bad weather, damaging the boat and knocking her unconscious.
According to the tale, she awoke to find herself on the beach of a remote island. Ms Sheridan then apparently spent seven years carving out a difficult survival before an SOS sign she made was spotted on Google Earth satellite images by “some kid from Minnesota”, at which point she was saved.
The article has been shared widely on Twitter – at times accompanied by “#truestory”, and with various messages along the lines of this from one user: “Thank you technology.”
Aside from the fairly incredible details involved in the story, the conspiracy theory and rumour-debunking website Waffles at Noon has pointed out a wide range of issues that show it is quite clearly a hoax.
Firstly, the so-called Google Earth picture of the “island” and its SOS message actually comes from a 2010 Amnesty International report on violence in Kyrgyzstan - the uncropped image shows buildings in the background.
The website News-Hound.org itself has, according to Waffles at Noon, a history of posting outlandish stories – and has put up articles which appear to pre-date the site’s own registration earlier this year.
Finally, the details of “Ms Sheridan’s” survival are not only fake but they are plagiarised – with huge chunks taken from a report into a Pacific island survival exercise undertaken by the explorer Ed Stafford.
There are some amazing true stories out there about survival over long periods at sea – sadly, this wasn’t one of them.
- 2 Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
- 5 Ryan Gosling posts tribute to 'Ryan Gosling Won't Eat His Cereal' creator Ryan McHenry
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Who should I vote for? The Independent quiz matches best political party for undecided voters ahead of the general election
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
Garland shooting: Isis claims attack on Prophet Mohamed cartoon contest in Texas as its first action on US soil
Met Gala 2015: Beyoncé manages to out-skimp Rihanna, Miley and Kim Kardashian combined with near-naked ensemble
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...
£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...
£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...