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Hoax: Picture of Shark Swimming in Flooded Street After Hurricane Irene

by Brett M. Christensen


Message claims that an attached image depicts a shark swimming down a flooded street in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of August 2011’s Hurricane Irene. 

Brief Analysis

The image is fake. The image is the result of digital manipulation. The shark was taken from a famous photograph of a shark following a kayaker and incorporated into the “flooded street” photograph.


Wow is all I have to say….

Shark in the Streets of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Irene

This picture was taken in Puerto Rico shortly after Hurricane Irene ravaged the island. Yes, that’s a shark swimming down the street next to a car, and this is exactly why authorities in NYC are warning not to go swimming in flood waters after a hurricane.

Irene Hurricane Fake Shark Post


Detailed Analysis

This rather striking image is currently circulating rapidly via social media websites, blogs and email. According to the caption accompanying the image, it depicts a shark swimming along a flooded street in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Irene battered the island in August 2011.

For a time, the image was even published as “news” by various media outlets in the United States and elsewhere. 
However, the image is not what it seems. In fact, the image is the result of some clever digital tomfoolery and certainly does not show a shark swimming along a flooded Puerto Rican street. The very same shark appears in an iconic photograph of a shark following closely behind a kayaker. The original shark behind kayaker photograph has circulated since September 2006 after it was published in Africa Geographic as part of an article by biologists Michael C. Scholl and Thomas P. Peschak. The photograph was taken by Michael C. Scholl in 2003:

Shark Behind Kayak

The following side by side comparison reveals that the shark in both pictures is one and the same, right down to the shadow near the shark’s right side and the bubbles on the surface of the water:

Shark Irene 1
Shark Irene 2

Clearly, the shark has been extracted from the original photograph using digital manipulation software and placed into the second image of the “flooded street”.

It is currently unclear where or when the “flooded street” photograph used in the manipulation was snapped.

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,