The BBC is reporting five deaths in yesterday’s storm (link). This is wrong. There were indeed five deaths from a storm in Tenerife: in 2002. Yesterday, there was one, or maybe two depending on interpretation.

HERE is the Guardian article from the time. HERE is the Daily Mail article, also from the time, but showing the date the article is viewed, whenever that might be. The key clue might have been the mention of Santa Cruz mayor “Zerolo”, who was replaced by José Manuel Bermúdez in 2011. There have been rumours for some time that the BBC just takes its news now from the Daily Mail. This mistake – common amongst googlers but unprofessional in the extreme from a major news organization – suggests that those rumours were true after all.

Yesterday’s storms claimed one life. That of a woman in Santa Cruz who was swept away by floodwater and trapped under a car where she suffered a heart attack before paramedics could reach her. A German swimmer also died in La Gomera despite efforts to drag him out of the water and resuscitate him – though whether this can genuinely be described as “storm-related” is questionable in my own opinion. One death, two if the German swimmer’s is included. Not five.

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  1. It doesn’t surprise me one bit. The five deaths story appears every time there is a flood in Tenerife, thanks to social media and people posting the old story from 2002.
    I saw the story on the BBC website and reported it although someone probably beat me to it. There is a lot of unresponsible posting on facebook and I think these incidents are likely to keep happening as reporters rely more and more on social media for their news.

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