Gemma Sheridan Hoax: Google Earth ‘Finds Woman Trapped on Deserted Island for 7 Years’ a Fake Article; No ‘SOS Sign’
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A story that claims a woman was found via Google Earth after she was on a deserted island for seven years is fake.
The story was published on News-Hound.org, which frequently publishes false news articles–including a long-running hoax article about a Jan. 4 planetary alignment that will reduce Earth’s gravity for five minutes.
No mainstream or local news outlets published the Google Earth story about Gemma Sheridan, who was allegedly lost in a storm in 2007 and spent the past seven years on a deserted island.
“Fast forward a couple more years,” the fake article reads. “I woke up 1 morning to the sound of a plane flying over me which was unusually low, I could not believe it, I thought it was a dream. I ran to the beach screaming and waving my arms like a lunatic, the plane flew over 2 or 3 more times and then dropped a small package.”
It continues: “Inside was a radio, fresh water, food and a small medical kit. I switched on the radio and heard the first human voice for years. We talked for what seemed like an eternity, then I asked the voice on the other end ‘How did you find me’ to which they replied ‘Some kid from Minnesota found your SOS sign on Google Earth.’”
The “SOS” picture used in the article was actually taken in 2010 amid reports of “widespread destruction” in Kyrgyzstan.
As hoax-debunking website WafflesAtNoon puts it, “The website which produced this story provided no sources, and there are no corroborating reports to be found anywhere online. News-Hound.org was only registered in January 2014 – although it has articles posted that pre-date its registration. The website has numerous outlandish stories, such as the claim that a man sued his wife for being too ugly or a mermaid which washed ashore after a hurricane.”
Hoax-debunking site Snopes added more insight: “First of all, the NewsHound web site is not a news site at all, and it has, in place of news, reproduced a number of other hoaxes and spoofs as if they were real news, such as long-debunked stories about a Chinese man suing his wife over giving birth to an ugly baby, Apple paying Microsoft [sic] a $1 billion debt all in nickels, and a planetary alignment causing gravity on Earth to be negated for five minutes.”
“Additionally, portions of text from the Newshound story were lifted directly from a 2013 Daily Mail article about Ed Stafford, an Amazon explorer who survived by himself for 60 days on a remote island in the Pacific after volunteering to do so for a television documentary,” Snopes says.