I received a really terrifying email today with supposed pictures taken by a victim of the Air France crash off of Brazil before he died. Without dignifying the email, or getting spyware on my computer by republishing the photos, suffice it to say that there were two photos showing a plane torn in half, blue sky behind, and people getting sucked into midair to fall to their deaths.
What horrific photos! I was so upset by the thought of it that I did a little research through google news, and I can't find any other media reports of a plane colliding with the Air France plane, nor could I find or reports of any photos being taken before the demise of the plane, which leads me to conclude these are a hoax, which somehow makes me feel better. I had heard that the passengers would have felt like they were "hitting a brick wall at 500 mph" if the plane came apart at a high altitude, which is supported by the pattern of multiple fractures in all the recovered bones.
What kind of sick individual crafts such a hoax? Of course money motivates some people to do just about anything. At the bottom of that email there is a link to "A Good Credit Score is 700 or Above. See yours in just 2 easy steps" If you were to click on it, which I don't recommend, you would be taken to freecreditreports.com with a cookie place on your computer that pays the person who created the link some money, either with each click, or with a commission if you buy something. In the structure of the link there is a "personal ID number" that tracks who this person is so they get credit for the referral. Even the terrifying pictures themselves, when clicked on (not recommended), lead to some bullshit website that probably puts spyware on your computer.
Also, I heard the plane crashed in terrible weather, surrounded by thunderclouds and rising equatorial weather storms. This photo has a pretty clear sky behind it.
Additionally, search parties have been combing the ocean for the black box, which emits some sort of signal, and have been unable to find it, much less someone's camera phone.
Finally, I can almost picture this still frame from some movie. Perhaps it was the opening scene of LOST, or Garden State, or something... I can't quite place it.
Hope this makes you feel better that the victims had quick deaths. So that opportunistic hoaxes like this one don't dissuade anyone from taking the measured risk of flying (myself included), I found this crazy headline story:
Woman Missed Fatal Air France Flight, Dies in Car Crash
An Italian woman who arrived late at the airport for the fatal Air France flight 447 has died in a car accident, according to ANSA news agency.
Johanna Ganthaler, a pensioner from the Bolzano-Bozen Province (South Tyrol, Italy) and her husband, Kirk, were on vacation in Brazil and missed flight 447 after arriving at the airport late. They were able to board a later flight and avoided being victims of the horrible crash.
The couple rented a car in Munich, Germany and decided to drive home to Italy. On their way home, while driving through Kufstein, Austria, their car ended up in the opposite lane and they had a head on collision with a truck.
The woman died at the hospital that she was taken to. Her husband is still in critical condition.
There are 9,000+ other articles about this story being true. You can't avoid all risk, even when driving sounds safer than flying these days!!!
Sons of bitches. Someone with more skills than I should track this person down using knowledge of link structures and the personal ID number this person used to credit himself with cookies on your computer when you click on it.
I'm not above making a little cash, as evidenced by my snarky t-shirt business (http://www.cafepress.com/innerlegend), and I'm not above capitalizing on pop culture trends... but to take advantage of fear and sensationalism and tragedy and outright lying in so doing is just SICK.
Pass this on.