Fact Check

National Geographic Camerman Eaten Alive During Shooting

A fake news article reported that a National Geographic cameraman was eaten alive by a giant ocean sunfish.

Published May 26, 2016

Image courtesy of Wikipedia
A National Geographic cameraman was eaten alive by a giant ocean sunfish.

On 26 May 2016, the entertainment web site World News Daily Report reported that a National Geographic photographer was eaten alive by a giant ocean sunfish (also called a Mola mola) during a shoot in Peru:

national geographic fish

29-year old Joaquín Álvarez Santos, from Chiclayo in Peru, was shooting underwater images on the pygmy sperm whale with four other divers, when the giant predator appeared.

The massive creature, probably weighting more than 2000 kg (4400 lbs), immediately headed towards the cameraman and effortlessly swallowed him before swimming away.

There is no truth to the article quoted here, as World News Daily Report is an entertainment web site that never publishes fact-based articles:

WNDR assumes however all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website – even those based on real people –  are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any persons, living, dead, or undead is purely a miracle.

While the story about a National Geographic photographer being swallowed alive by a giant fish is a work of fiction, the image included with it is real. In September 2013, photographer Miguel Pereira had a close encounter with a giant sunfish (which did not eat him):

This rare footage of a gigantic sunfish was captured on film by photographer Miguel Pereira off the coast of Portugal. The huge creature dwarfs the divers as it swims past. The slow-moving fish and clear water allow for some spectacular close-ups of this amazing animal.

"A few days before, my camera was damaged when the underwater housing flooded. The bad luck was compensated when diving with a GoPro I saw the giant Sunfish almost at surface level and practically static. The Sunfish seemed not to be bothered by our presence at all and followed us for 15 minutes." -Miguel Pereira

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.