Fake cave-diving photos, videos spread online amid Thai rescue mission
Beware the fake videos and social media accounts purporting to follow the dramatic rescue of the soccer team from a flooded cave system in Thailand.
The rescue mission has captured worldwide attention as divers continue to work to save the 12 boys and their coach through narrow, dark, water-filled passages.
But there are photos and videos being widely shared that are said to be from Thailand that are not authentic.
One video showing divers handling a stretcher has attracted millions of views online and even fooled some news organizations, according to online platform Storyful. But the footage and screengrabs are from a cave rescue drill by a French diving team and have been online since at least 2010.
Portions of another video that have been widely circulated show a diver navigating extremely narrow passages with oxygen tanks but it was taken in Wisconsin and has been online since at least 2012.
One big clue is that both videos are shot in crystal-clear water, but the Tham Luang cave is muddy, providing virtually no visibility.
Also fake is a Facebook profile for Narongsak Osatanakorn, the rescue mission chief and acting governor of the province. He is holding press conferences about the operation that are being distributed through a Facebook page for the Chiang Rai province.
But a fake profile for Osatanakorn was created this month, according to Storyful.
The team has been stranded in the water-filled caves since June 23 when they went exploring before a rainstorm hit. Four boys were rescued Sunday and rescue operations are underway Monday.
The five- to six-hour route out of the cave is filled with narrow, twisting passages.
Below, some of the videos being widely shared that are not authentic.