FAKE NEWS? Does This Video Show A Montana River Exploding After Lightning Strikes?
August 17, 2020
An incredible video has been making the rounds on Facebook that purports to capture the instant lightning strikes a body of water and causes a massive explosion in the water. Perhaps you've seen it posted online with a title like "Lightning Striking A Montana Stream." The camera is set up next to a moving body of water. There's a flash, and suddenly the water rises in an incredible explosion.
If you haven't, it's right below. As aquatic action it is undoubtedly thrilling -- better than "Speed 2" but maybe not quite as terrific as "Waterworld." But is it real? And does it show what people claim?
Well, the answer is: yes, it's real. But no, it doesn't show lightning striking a stream in Montana. Or anywhere. It's footage of an underwater controlled demolition set by a dredging company in Finland. The flash that resembles lightning is an igniting detonation cord.
As it turns out, the video has circulated other states, too; a local news broadcast in Minnesota set out to prove it didn't take place in their state back in 2017.
The video is part of a larger trend of so-called "fake news" being spread online in the service of getting clicks, advancing an agenda, or just plain pranksterism. In this case, it's relatively harmless, but the credulity with which viewers (and I'm one of them at first!) accepted the footage shows that you can't always believe what you read online. Unless Distinctly Montana says it, then you can believe it implicitly.
Sorry we had to burst your bubble. But we'll make it up to you with a video of what lightning striking water actually looks like. Hopefully you'll forgive us if it wasn't shot in Montana. Of course, we could always just say it is...