4 December 2023

Misleading: Photo does not show unidentified flying object reportedly spotted in China

The picture was taken in the U.K. in 2008. It has nothing to do with the news report on the UFO spotted in Shandong in February.


A picture of an unidentified flying object caught on camera 15 years ago in the United Kingdom has been falsely linked to a Chinese government’s announcement that it was ready to shoot down a UFO near Rizhao coastline in Shandong on Feb. 12.

Social media users on Twitter and Weibo shared the image last month, claiming the UFO was already shot down. The misleading posts that picked up hundreds of likes and reposts were also mentioned in the media.

Local Chinese media said the announcement was issued by Jimo district’s Marine Development Bureau upon an instruction received from Qingdao city government.

It asked local fishermen to watch out for the flying object with exact coordinates and to photograph any fallen object nearby as well as to assist with retrieval.

However, there is no official update or news report showing the UFO was indeed shot down in Shandong at the time of writing.

similar photo to alma
A photo on Alamy that was taken in Devon shows a similar scenario to the photo in question.

Meanwhile, Annie Lab found a very similar picture that was uploaded on July 27, 2019 on Alamy, an online stock photography service, with a description that it was taken in Torbay, Devon, U.K.

alma costline
The coastline and the smattering of buildings seen in the photo on Weibo (left) are almost the same as the one on Alamy (right).

We verified this location on Google Maps using the globe view and satellite image features.

google map
Google Maps’ satellite image of Preston Sands in Devon.

We also found this article published on July 29, 2008, by the Daily Mail with the same picture.

Photographer John Farley told the paper that he took the picture at Berry Head in Brixham of Devon.

location Comparison
Comparison of the photo posted on Weibo (left) and the original one published on The Daily Mail (right).

The local council of Torbay also documented the relevant news report from Herald Express published on the same day.