26 September 2023

Misleading: This video does not show French daredevil falling to death in Hong Kong

It actually shows a third-year high school student in Qinyang in Henan province who accidentally fell from a building in 2019.

On Aug. 2, social media posts in Spanish and Italian on X (formerly Twitter) claimed (here, here, and here) that a video shows the death of French daredevil Remi Lucidi, who is known for climbing tall buildings in different parts of the world.

These posts were accompanied by a video, or an animated GIF, showing a person standing on the edge of a tall building before falling.

Together, they have over 1,500 likes and 120 reposts as of this writing.

However, this is misleading. Although Remi Lucidi was found dead in the Mid-level area of Hong Kong on July 27, the video in question has nothing to do with his death.

A reverse image search led to an article by The Paper on April 24, 2019, reporting that a man in the video accidentally fell from a high-rise building at the Kaixuanmen Community in Qinyang, Henan province.

Comparison of the video in question with the image in the report in The Paper.

According to a police statement cited by The Paper, the man was a 19-year-old senior high school student named Yang. The police reportedly determined that the case had no criminal element.

With the keywords “Qinyang” and “Falling from a Building” in Chinese, Annie Lab found more news reports about this incident.

A video with the logo of btime.com (a TV station in Beijing) and a GIF from Henan’s HNTV City Channel used in a Sohu article showed an ambulance arriving at the scene.

In the video, the student, who was suspected to be on the phone, was seen standing on the edge of a building rooftop. It shows the moment when the rooftop suddenly collapsed, sending him to fall 18 floors and die.

We also geolocated the building in the video using Google Maps and Baidu Map. We can confirm that the accident took place in Qinyang.

The building in question is on Shiju Street in Qinyang.

Meanwhile, according to Hong Kong media HK01, Lucidi died on July 27 after falling from an apartment penthouse. He reportedly knocked on the window of the penthouse on the 68th floor, where he was last seen alive by a domestic worker.

In our investigation, we also learned that in 2019, the same disturbing video was misreported by news outlets Republicworld.com in India and El Comercio in Peru saying the clip supposedly shows a selfie-related accident in Mumbai, India.