Old videos from Spain and Taiwan shared as Japan after recent Taiwan earthquake

By: Soham Shah
April 8 2024

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Old videos from Spain and Taiwan shared as Japan after recent Taiwan earthquake

Posts claiming videos show footage after tsunami warnings in Japan. (Source:X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

While the first video shows an incident in Spain in January 2014, the second shows an earthquake that hit Taiwan in September 2022.

Claim ID fb85f36f

What is the claim?

After a tsunami warning and evacuation advisory were issued in Japan for the coastal areas of Okinawa on April 3, 2024, following a 7.2 magnitude earthquake near Taiwan, multiple videos purporting to show the destruction caused by the tsunami have been circulating on social media.

Two such videos were shared with captions claiming to depict water receding in Okinawa and evidence of a tsunami approaching the Japanese island. Archived posts of such claims can be accessed here, here, here, and here. 

Posts claiming that the videos show footage after tsunami warnings in Japan. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts) 

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Taiwan near the eastern county of Hualien. Nine people are confirmed to have been killed, and over 1,000 have been injured, as per a BBC report. This earthquake prompted tsunami alerts in some Japanese and Philippine islands, but these alerts were later downgraded.

However, upon investigation, it was found that both of these videos are old and do not depict visuals of the recent earthquake.

The first video

The first clip shows a woman dancing on a beach suddenly being washed away by a strong wave. It was shared with the caption, “#Japanese island of #Okinawa The waters are receding. Evacuate and move to high, safe places.”

Through reverse image search, a report by the tabloid Daily Mail published on January 21, 2014, was found, featuring an extended version of the same video. The report indicated that the woman was swept away at a beach in Santander, Spain, and survived the incident but was injured.

A news report by The Independent published on January 22, 2014, corroborated these details about the incident.

We were able to confirm the location of the video by geolocating it to the El Sardinero beach in Santander, Spain, using buildings and the blue railings visible along the beach in the viral video.

Geolocation of the viral video. (Source:X, Google Street View)

The second video

The second video shows some people falling down in a forest after earthquake tremors hit the area. The video was shared with the caption, “BREAKING - #Japan; People fleeing in the inner part of the Okinawa islands as a #tsunami is approaching,” claiming to depict the recent April 2024 incident.

However, a reverse image search revealed that the video was uploaded on the verified YouTube channel of Taiwanese news broadcaster Taiwan EBC News on September 19, 2022. The title and description of the video, originally in Chinese, translated to English using Google Translate, indicated that it showed a lecturer from the "Zhuoxi Township" Mountaineering Association in Hualien with his students during an earthquake in the city of Taitung in Taiwan. 

Taking a cue from the name of the mountaineering association, a keyword search on Facebook yielded several pages and news channels sharing the same video in September 2022.

Multiple posts on Facebook showing the same video. (Source: Facebook)

Additionally, an extended version of the viral video was found on the Facebook page of the mountaineering association, identifying the lecturer as Gao Jianxiang.


According to a Reuters report, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Taitung in September 2022, resulting in one death and over 160 injuries.

The same video was previously shared as footage of an earthquake that struck Indonesia in January 2023 and was fact-checked by several outlets.

This evidence confirms that both videos do not depict visuals from the recent tsunami warnings in Japan. The first video is from Spain in 2014, while the second video is from Taiwan in September 2022.

The verdict

The claim has been marked as false as both videos are old and unrelated to the recent Taiwan earthquake. One was recorded in Spain in 2014, and the other was recorded in Taiwan in 2022. Neither has any connection to the recent tsunami warning in Japan.

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