Wrong reports of “5 deaths in Santa Cruz flash floods”

Updated 24 January 2017: It seems this story is doing the rounds again, but this time not because of any confusion with rain in Tenerife, but with flash flooding in Santa Cruz County in California where four people are reported to have died – see THIS, as a example. No-one has died in Santa Cruz from floods, and there hasn’t been any significant rain there in the recent past.

Original post 20 October 2014: There are reports of five deaths in yesterday’s storm (e.g. 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 an article from the Guardian at the time of the 2002 floods. The key clue might have been the mention of Santa Cruz mayor “Zerolo”, who was replaced by José Manuel Bermúdez in 2011.

Tragically, 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 was due to the storm is unclear.

1 Comment

  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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