False: A video shows thousands of fish dead on a shore after a train carrying chemicals derailed in Ohio.

By: Chandan Borgohain
February 20 2023

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False: A video shows thousands of fish dead on a shore after a train carrying chemicals derailed in Ohio.


The Verdict False

The viral video is unrelated to the recent train derailment in Ohio and is from the Santa Fe region in Argentina.

Claim ID feeda867


On February 3, a freight train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed outside East Palestine, Ohio, U.S. Scientific American reported that the chemicals underwent a controlled burn, releasing gases into the air. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) personnel have been monitoring potential chemical releases into the ground, air and water. The BBC reports that residents of the area have experienced headaches, watery eyes, and sore throats since the derailment. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources states an estimated 3500 small fish in nearby creeks have died due to the incident.

In the wake of this, a 12-second clip showing thousands of dead fish lying on a shore has gained traction on social media, with hashtags linking it to the Ohio train derailment incident. However, the viral video is from Argentina and has been falsely linked to Ohio's train derailment.

In Fact

A reverse image search performed on the keyframes of the video led us to an article published in Diario Neuquino, originally in Spanish, that carried a screenshot of the video. The caption stated that it showed dead fish in Laguna del Plata, Santa Fe, a lake in Argentina.

On YouTube, we found a longer version of the video uploaded by the verified news channel Filo News on January 23, 2023. The caption of the video, translated from Spanish, read: "Thousands of fish appeared dead in Laguna del Plata." Further, a video news report uploaded to YouTube by the Spanish news outlet A24 on January 22 carried sections of the viral footage. The video was uploaded with a headline, originally in Spanish, that read: "Thousands of fish died in Santa Fe due to the drought effect." The news broadcast also featured an anchor speaking to an expert about the incident, identified in the caption as Dr. Luis Espinola, an expert in environmental sciences, who explained that the cause of the dead fish was likely high temperatures.

Additionally, a Santa Fe-based news portal reported on the incident, with screengrabs of the viral video and the video itself. The report said that the Laguna del Plata campsite manager encountered the scene on January 21, 2023. Daniel Giménez told Aire Digital that they had seen some fish deaths in the previous days, but the situation had deteriorated over the weekend. Giménez also attributed the deaths to the high temperatures experienced.

Therefore, it is clear that the viral video of dead fish on the shore is from Argentina, not the United States.

The Verdict

Although the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has stated that thousands of fish have died as a result of the recent train derailment and ensuing controlled chemical burn, the viral video is unrelated. The video is from the Santa Fe region of Argentina, and the likely cause of the fish dying was a drought and high temperatures. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before