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NOT REAL NEWS: Plane did not spin 360 degrees from typhoon

September 18, 2018

Video footage of a plane diving through the sky, doing a 360-degree roll before righting itself, is not the work of a talented pilot saving his plane from typhoon winds in China, as some online sites are suggesting. 

The clip, which purports to be Aeroplane Dragon Air B-737 hit by a typhoon in Shenzhen, China, is actually half computer-generated video of a plane spinning through the air with footage from an emergency landing of a Capital Airlines flight at an airport in Shenzhen City in August. 

Aristomenis Tsirbas, director at Menithings Productions, told The Associated Press that he created the first portion of the video using CGI. 

“Yes, the part of the video that shows an airliner spinning 360 degrees is stolen copyrighted work - specifically my work,” he said in an email. 

Stories online are using the video to suggest that strong winds from a recent typhoon caused the plane to spin midair before it was saved by the pilot’s actions. One story online said that the plane was a Dragon Air B-737 airplane when the video footage in fact shows that it is a Capital Air aircraft. 

The second half of the video matches video frames taken of passengers deplaning from a Capital Airlines flight during an August emergency landing. 

The video was shared on Facebook more than 50,000 times. The video is one of several viral images circulating following Typhoon Mangkhut. 

This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

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