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Airliner Ditching In Surf Video

Summary:
"Viral" video apparently shows an airliner passing very low over a beach, circling around surrounding buildings and finally ditching in the ocean close to shore (Full commentary below).



Status:
Video is an advertisement for a Dutch travel company

Example:(Submitted, May 2008)
Subject: Fw: I was lying on the beach when I heard this ROAR!!!!

I was lying on the beach when I heard this ROAR!!!!





Commentary:
This video footage seemingly depicts an airliner roaring low over a beach, narrowly missing the tops of surrounding buildings and then ditching safely in the ocean close to stunned onlookers on the shore. The jerky, unrehearsed style of the video suggests that the incident was captured on film by an amateur movie-maker who just happened to be on the beach with camera ready at the time.

The video, which is circulating rapidly via email, blogs and forums, is certainly a compelling piece of footage. However, not surprisingly, it does not show a real incident. In fact it is a clever video advertisement by Dutch travel company, X-Travel. The video's status as an ad is made perfectly clear to viewers who see the complete version of the video (as shown in the above example). The last portion of the ad shows a group of happy young people launching themselves directly into the ocean via the plane's emergency slide and implies that the apparent ditching was actually a deliberate way of delivering passengers directly to adventure and good times. The end of the video includes X-Travel graphics and text along with background music and there should be no doubt whatsoever in the viewer's mind that it is no more than an advertisement.

Unfortunately, however, some versions of the video omit the last portion and thus some recipients have been fooled into believing that the footage depicts a real incident. But, of course, even without the ending to expose it as an advertisement, it should soon become clear to most viewers that the video is fake. It would be nothing short of miraculous for an airliner to not only land safely in the ocean after impacting at such speed but also to "park" in such an incredibly short distance.

In reality, an aircraft placed in such an unfortunate scenario would almost certainly disintegrate and/or sink on impact with massive loss of life and injury. This reality is graphically illustrated by another viral video of the water landing of a hijacked Ethiopian Airlines jet in 1996. 125 of the 175 passengers and crew on board the doomed aircraft were killed. Perhaps because of this and a number of other airline disasters, some commentators have labelled the X-Travel ad as insensitive and in poor taste. However, viewed in context and in its complete form, the ad is both funny and clever and is certainly not intended to offend.

References:
X-travel jongerenreizen
"Flimsy Tube & Wing Airliner Ditches in Ocean
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961
Dutch Travel Company Makes Hilarious Plane Crash Commercial | snarfd

Last updated: 21st May 2008
First published: 21st May 2008

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen