HomeTechnologyHurricane Ian 'Street Shark' Video Defies Belief

Hurricane Ian ‘Street Shark’ Video Defies Belief

By GRAPH MASSARA and ALI SWENSON, Associated Press

Photos and videos of sharks and other marine life swimming in suburban floodwaters are popular hoaxes during massive storms. But a cell phone video shot during Hurricane Ian’s assault on Southwest Florida isn’t just another fish story.

The mind-blowing video, which showed a large, dark fish with sharp dorsal fins flailing about in a flooded Fort Myers backyard, racked up more than 12 million views on Twitter in one day, as users responded with disbelief and comparisons to the ” Sharknado”. film series

Dominic Cameratta, a local real estate developer, confirmed that he shot the video from his backyard on Wednesday morning when he saw something “circling” in his neighbor’s flooded yard.

“I didn’t know what it was, it just looked like a fish or something,” he told The Associated Press. “I walked up and all my friends were like, ‘It’s like a shark, man!’ ”

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He guessed that the fish was about 4 feet long.

Experts had mixed opinions on whether the clip showed a shark or another large fish. George Burgess, former director of the shark program at the Florida Museum of Natural History, said in an email that “it appears to be a juvenile shark,” while Dr. Neil Hammerschlag, director of the shark conservation program at the University of Miami , wrote that “it’s pretty hard to say.

However, some Twitter users called the hapless fish the “street shark.”

The surge worsened in Fort Myers as the day progressed. Cameratta said the flooding had just started when the video was taken, but the floodwaters were “up to our house” when the AP contacted him by phone Wednesday night.

He said the fish may have washed up from nearby Hendry Creek into a retention pond, which then overflowed and spilled the creature into his neighbor’s backyard. A visual analysis of the nearby property confirmed that it matches the physical landmarks in the video.

Leslie Guelcher, a professor of intelligence studies at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania, was among the online sleuths who initially thought the video was fake.

“Don’t think this is real. According to the video index it was created in June 2010. Someone else posted it at 10am like Fort Myers but storm surge was not like that at 10am,” he tweeted Wednesday.

However, Guelcher later acknowledged that the online tools she and others were using to establish the origins of the video did not actually show when the video itself was created, only when the user’s social media profile was created.

The AP confirmed through the metadata of the original clip that it was captured Wednesday morning.

“It makes a little more sense from a flood standpoint,” he said by email, when told the fish was spotted near an overflowing pond. “But how the heck would a shark from the Gulf of Mexico get into a holding pond?”

Yannis Papastamatiou, a marine biologist who studies shark behavior at Florida International University, said most sharks flee shallow bays ahead of hurricanes, possibly forewarned of their arrival by a change in weather. barometric pressure. A shark could have accidentally swum into the creek, he said, or been pulled into it.

“Young bull sharks are common inhabitants of low-salinity waters (rivers, estuaries, subtropical inlets) and often appear in similar video in Florida bodies of water connected to the sea, such as coastal canals and ponds,” Burgess said. “Assuming the location and date attributes are correct, it is likely that this shark was washed ashore with rising sea levels.”

Cameratta sent the video to a group chat on WhatsApp on Wednesday morning, according to his friend John Paul Murray, who sent the AP a screenshot with a date and time stamp.

“Amazing content,” Murray wrote in response.

Associated Press writers Philip Marcelo and Arijeta Lajka in New York contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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