The Claim and Our Verdict
- The claim: A video was shared online together with a claim that a crocodile was swimming with a dead person in its jaws during the flood crisis in Zhengzhou, China.
- Keyword searches found the video had been circulating online since at least late June 2021.
- Several news articles claim the tragic event shown in the video happened on June 21, 2021, in the Mexican port city of Tampico.
- The videos, therefore, were recorded almost one month before the devastating flooding in Zhengzhou, China.
- Our ruling: Therefore, we rate the claim as FALSE.
A YouTube video was published on July 21, 2021, together with a claim that a crocodile was swimming with a dead person in its jaws on July 20, 2021, during flooding crisis in Zhengzhou, China. A similar video with Chinese-language captions was also found on YouTube.
As of the issuance of this report, the video with English-language caption had been viewed 87 times, while the video with Chinese-language caption had been viewed more than 40,000 times.
Several days of record-breaking rainfall hit Zhengzhou, the capital city of Henan province in central China, resulting in devastating flooding. Rainfall in the city reached 201.9mm per hour on July 20, the worst record in decades. The death toll from the flooding in Henan has reached 63, while five people are still reported missing.
A keyword search on Google found an article published June 24, 2021, on Worldstar Hip Hop, an online video sharing website based in the United States. Below is a comparison of the footage from a YouTube video and the video published on Worldstar Hip Hop.
The article published on Worldstar Hip Hop claims the video was recorded on June 21, 2021, in Tampico, a port city in the southeastern part of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. A woman, whose dead body can be seen in a crocodile’s mouth in the video, was reportedly attacked by the huge crocodile when she was washing clothes along the shore. In the video shared with the article, the woman wearing a pink T-shirt and a blue skirt was being held in the jaws of the reptile.
Videos with the same footage and similar captions were found on YouTube here and here, and on Weibo here. They were published June 23, June 22, and June 25, 2021, respectively. The location of the first YouTube video was labelled as Tampico, and the caption of the second YouTube video included Tamaulipas, both of which are the same location mentioned in the Worldstar Hip Hop article. The third video shows the same footage with Chinese-language subtitle captions, identifying the same event mentioned above.
Further keyword searches discovered several news articles about this tragedy. A news article was published June 24, 2021, on ViralTab, a news portal created for freelance journalists. Below is a comparison of the photo attached in the ViralTab news article and the footage in a YouTube video. “A fearsome crocodile attacks a homeless woman who was washing her clothes in the lagoon,” according to the article. It is alleged that the incident happened at around 7pm on June 21, 2021 in Tampico, Mexico. Riviera Maya News, a Mexican local news website, also published a news article about the same incident on June 24, 2021.
Videos of the incident have been circulating online since at least June 22, 2021, almost one month before the devastating flood in Zhengzhou, China. The videos do not show a scene during the flood crisis in Zhengzhou.
Therefore, we rate the claim as FALSE.
- YouTube video, “Dead body was taken away by a crocodile during flooding in Zhengzhou China 20210720,” July 21, 2021.
- YouTube video, “[Breaking] Fierce floods and savage beasts were coming to Zhengzhou; a female dead body was in the jaws of a crocodile! (【突發！】洪水猛獸現鄭州，鱷魚咬住女性浮屍！),” July 21, 2021.
- South China Morning Post, “Devastating China floods caused by Typhoon In-fa’s airflow hitting area of high pressure, say experts,” July 21, 2021.
- CGTN, “Heavy rainfall kills 63 in China’s Henan,” July 25, 2021.
- Worldstar Hip Hop, “Damn: Crocodile Spotted With A Woman In His Mouth Swimming Through A Lake,” June 24, 2021.
- YouTube video, “Crocodile eats a lady,” June 23, 2021.
- YouTube video, “Cocodrilo de 4 mts captura a mujer en laguna de Tamaulipas *TRISTE E IMPACTANTE SUCESO*,” June 22, 2021.
- Weibo post, June 25, 2021.
- ViralTab, “Crocodile Kills Homeless Woman Washing Clothes In Lagoon,” June 24, 2021.
- Riviera Maya News, “Body of Tamaulipas woman attacked by crocodile recovered,” June 24, 2021.