Fact Check

Shipment of Samsung Smartphones Explodes During Transport, 3 Dead

A fake news site used news about Samsung smartphone batteries' overheating to spin a false story about a fatal truck explosion.

Published Sept. 14, 2016

A truck carrying a shipment of Samsung smartphones exploded, killing three people.

On 1 September 2016, World News Daily Report published an article reporting that a truck carrying a load of Samsung smartphones exploded and killed three people:

A semi-trailer truck exploded this morning in Florida, after the Samsung phones it was carrying began exploding, killing 3 people and injuring 11 others.

According to witnesses, a series of explosion took place in the truck’s cargo trailer, setting it ablaze.

Within a few seconds, blazing smarpthones were flying in the air in all directions, hitting nearby vehicles at extremely high speeds.

“It was totally crazy! There were hundreds of flaming phones coming out of the trailer at bullet speed,” says Jamal Anderson, whose car was hit by three phones. “It looked like a huge firework with flames and explosions everywhere.”

Seven nearby vehicles were hit by the flaming projectiles, leading to a dramatic car crash involving 17 vehicles.

Samsung did recall millions of smartphones in September 2016 due to a battery issue that caused some units to catch fire or explode, but the report about an exploding truckful of Samsungs was just a fabricated clickbait story originating with a fake news site. The header image of a flaming tractor-trailer dated to an unrelated 2012 story, as did the second image (which depicted a massive vehicle pileup in Florida that year).

World News Daily Report exclusively publishes outlandish fabrications alongside repurposed photographs, attracting an audience via social media users enticed by its salacious (and invented) claims. The site's disclaimer clearly states that WNDR's content is completely false:

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.

Previous World News Daily Report hoaxes include claims an infant in the Philippines was born with stigmata, a lottery winner died after he tried to gold-plate his genitals, a 14-year-old virgin was impregnated by a flu shot injection, a slaughterhouse employee killed dozens of coworkers over a period of twenty years, a donor heart recipient received an organ from a serial killer and subsequently went on a killing spree, a man's genitals were destroyed during the attempted "rape" of a pit bull, a meth-using babysitter ate a small child while high, a Smithsonian employee was discovered "raping" a mummy, an overweight man sued Golden Corral after he was ejected for staying too long, rat meat was sold as chicken wings in the United States immediately before the 2016 Super Bowl, a woman broke a world record for giving birth to 14 children by 14 different men, a Nazi sub surfaced in the Great Lakes, a mother sued a tampon company for taking her daughter's virginity, a 101-year-old Italian woman gave birth to a healthy baby following fertility treatments, CIA agents were caught smuggling cocaine across the Mexican border, a National Geographic journalist was eaten alive by a giant sunfish, Edward Snowden said that Osama bin Laden is alive and well under CIA protection, a fisherman caught a giant shark in the Great Lakes, and a four-year-old boy was arrested by the FBI for hacking their databases.

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.