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Photograph of Tornado Hitting Scout Camp Hoax

Summary:
Email claims that an attached photographs shows the tornado the killed four boy scouts at an Iowa camp ground in June 2008 (Full commentary below).



Status:
Genuine photograph - Description is untrue

Example:(Submitted, June 2008)
Subject: FW: tornado that hit boy scout camp - amazing!

Mislabeled Storm Photograph



Commentary:
According to the subject line of this email forward, an attached photograph of an approaching storm depicts a tornado that hit a Boy Scout camp. The email obviously references the devastating tornado that killed four Boy Scouts and injured many other people when it hit an Iowa scout camp on June 11 2008.

Tragically, the destruction of the scout camp and the resulting death and injury is all too true. However, the photograph does not depict the tornado that hit the Little Sioux Boy Scout camp. Nor, in fact, does it even show a tornado. According to a detailed report about the email published on MeteorologyNews.com, the photo actually shows an unrelated storm that hit another part of Iowa the night before the scout camp tragedy occurred. The article notes:
The image going around the internet, often titled "Little Sioux Boy Scout camp twister" was not in fact a photograph of a tornado - it is not even the storm that struck that Boy Scout camp location on the evening of June 11th, but instead of a non-tornadic storm the night before (June 10, 2008) approximately 220 miles away in the town of Orchard in Mitchell County, Iowa.
The photograph is included on the Mitchell County Hail & Wall Cloud website with the following caption:
This picture was taken by Lori Mehmen of Orchard, IA taken in her front yard looking east of her house. Picture taken at 9:04 p.m. on June 10th, 2008.
A Yahoo news report also states that the photograph was taken by Lori Mehmen in Orchard, Iowa. The report notes:
Mehmen said the funnel cloud came near the ground and then went back up into the clouds. Besides tree and crop damage, no human injuries were reported.
Photographs published elsewhere show that the Little Sioux scout camp bears little resemblance to the built-up area shown in the "tornado" photograph.

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, other websites, including CNN's reader self-reporting website, iReport, were still hosting the falsely captioned photograph.

Given that the storm shown in the photograph occurred only the day before the scout camp tornado and in the same state, it is possible that it was originally misidentified in error. However its continued circulation with the erroneous caption will serve only to add to the pain of those affected by this tragic event.

References:
4 dead, 40 injured as tornado hits Boy Scout camp
Fake Tornado Photograph Falsely Attributed to Boy Scout Camp Storm
Mitchell County Hail & Wall Cloud
Orchard, Iowa, Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Tornado at Little Sioux
The Little Sioux Scout Ranch (Scroll down for image)
iReport: Tornado that hit Western Iowa Boy Scout Camp


Last updated: 18th June 2008
First published: 18th June 2008

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen

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