Tsunami Seen From a High-Rise

image Snopes posted a photo (click to enlarge) that's going around accompanied by this text:

Be sure and open the picture for a shock of your life to see what the tsunami looked like just before hitting Puket, Thailand. This picture is not a fake. It appears to have been taken from a hi-rise building window in downtown Phuket Thailand. The power of nature is hard to comprehend, especially the destructiveness of water.

Snopes says the status of the picture is undetermined, but I'd have a hard time believing it's real. First of all, is that actually downtown Phuket? I've never been there, so I couldn't say, but all the pictures of Thailand I've seen show it being a lot greener... a lot more vegetation. Second, almost every account of the tsunami I've read said that it didn't look like the classic hollywood image of a tidal wave towering above the land... which is exactly what this picture looks like. The wave in this picture is nearly as high as the tallest buildings, which would make it at least 100 feet high (or even higher). Of course, if this picture is real, it's pretty incredible.
Update: The cars are driving on the wrong side of the road for this to be a picture taken in Thailand.
image Update 2 (1/19/05): This picture actually shows a harbor view of Antofagosta, Chile (as seen in the thumbnail to the right). The large wave has obviously been photoshopped in.


Posted on Tue Jan 04, 2005


That's not even close to being real.
Posted by brian  on  Tue Jan 04, 2005  at  11:23 AM
Shouldn't the water be brown, anyways?
Posted by aw  on  Tue Jan 04, 2005  at  11:48 AM
It does look pretty fakey.
Posted by davetolomy  on  Tue Jan 04, 2005  at  11:50 AM
Looks fake.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Tue Jan 04, 2005  at  12:24 PM
Madonna's plastic surgeon does better work than that.
Posted by Craig  on  Tue Jan 04, 2005  at  12:52 PM
Actually the wave looks like one of the waves from "The Perfect Storm". Or maybe it was: "The Day After TOmmorow"
Posted by davetolomy  on  Tue Jan 04, 2005  at  12:52 PM
I don't see anything that looks like that area in the photo gallery at the Phuket Gazette: http://www.phuket-photos.com/phuket-tidal-wave.htm?ref=2005150557
Maybe someone with more time than I can look through them all and find out.
And I should have said Michael Jackson's plastic surgeon does better work....drat
Posted by Craig  on  Tue Jan 04, 2005  at  12:57 PM
It looks a little like downtown Honolulu:
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Tue Jan 04, 2005  at  01:15 PM
...Phuket area:

sorry for the long url...
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Tue Jan 04, 2005  at  01:33 PM
Uhoh, Alex...I think I skewed the page...
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Tue Jan 04, 2005  at  01:34 PM
...and it doesn't even link to where I needed it to go.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Tue Jan 04, 2005  at  01:35 PM
...this should be correct:

Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Tue Jan 04, 2005  at  01:36 PM
I fixed it.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Tue Jan 04, 2005  at  01:49 PM
cant be thailand as cars are driving on the left
and they like us brits drive on the right
Posted by collin  in  uk  on  Tue Jan 04, 2005  at  02:33 PM
Isn't it the other way around? We americans drive on the right. You brits drive on the left? Anyway, that's a good catch. Pretty much proves that it's not a photo of a Thailand Tsunami.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Tue Jan 04, 2005  at  02:55 PM
found this to be sure...definately not thailand:
http://users.pandora.be/worldstandards/driving on the left.htm#leftdriving
Posted by David  on  Tue Jan 04, 2005  at  04:42 PM
Japan drives on the left, like Britain and Ireland. I don't know about Thailand.
Of course, the image could have somehow gotten flopped (reversed horizontally).
Posted by Big Gary C  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Tue Jan 04, 2005  at  04:43 PM
Well, I checked with my colleague who used to live in Thailand and is married to a Thai woman, and he confirmed that drivers in Thailand go on the left side of the road (like in Britain or Japan; the opposite of the U.S. and most other countries). So the photo either is not from Thailand or it's been tweaked somehow.
Posted by Big Gary C  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Tue Jan 04, 2005  at  05:44 PM
The wording on the caption is suspicious. It's almost as if they refer to Phuket as a city and not an island mentioning "downtown Phuket" If the caption ain't right I wouldn't trust the source of the picture is either.
Posted by sbnature  in  sb ca  on  Tue Jan 04, 2005  at  07:11 PM
Obvious fake - why belabor it? But if so, why did I post this comment? Maybe some Zen is needed.
Posted by stork  in  the spiracles of space  on  Tue Jan 04, 2005  at  10:05 PM
That wave looks like photoshop. The water would be brown anyways...that's badly done.
Posted by Liz  in  Australia  on  Wed Jan 05, 2005  at  02:03 AM
I heard there wasn't any big wave. Water just rose very fast.
Posted by Loxx  on  Wed Jan 05, 2005  at  10:03 AM
I'm also bummed that Phuket isn't pronounced the way I thought it was. I always wanted for my first born to be born there, so in class, when the teacher asks where everyone was born, my kid could proudly say...
Posted by Craig  on  Wed Jan 05, 2005  at  10:09 AM
ifilm.com has good footage of waves breaking onto the beach and into some Phuket hotels. The waves shown are nice size, but only Sunset Beach big.
Posted by sbnature  in  sb ca  on  Wed Jan 05, 2005  at  06:09 PM
To summarize:

1. It's fake.
2. It's badly done.
3. I'm pretty sure they took that wave from Big Wednesday...
Posted by Andr̩  in  Port Elizabeth, South Africa  on  Thu Jan 06, 2005  at  02:34 AM
That looks nothing like Phuket. Nice try though. wink
Posted by Jesi Brewster  in  Palm Springs  on  Thu Jan 06, 2005  at  12:28 PM
Snopes has determined this photo to be false, and gives good reasons to back it up.

Posted by Tornado  on  Fri Jan 07, 2005  at  01:00 AM
Well, those are all the same reasons already stated by people here.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Fri Jan 07, 2005  at  01:12 AM
I use stories from here and snopes on my messege board. Looks like another story I can put up.
Posted by Dany  in  Texas  on  Fri Jan 07, 2005  at  02:12 PM
I actually just received this email from my sister, who works for a school district. The email had been forwarded to two groups of people previous to my receiving this, but get this--the original guy that sent out the email had claimed that his sister took the picture herself while she was relaxing at a B&B a week before the tsunami hit. O_o So I copied everyone who had received the email all the way back to the original sender, and I sent them all the link to this page and Snopes.

I bet that guy feels like an idiot now smile
Posted by Sarah  in  Dallas  on  Fri Jan 07, 2005  at  03:41 PM
Comments: Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 
Commenting is no longer available in this channel entry.