Good morning, and welcome to a new Kelly’s World feature — Fake News Friday! Each week, I’ll highlight at least one lowlight of utterly false “stories” masquerading as true journalism. Our inaugural entry appeared on a Facebook page called Lackawanna County News. Despite its obvious phoniness, it was shared on local Facebook feeds 99 times and attracted hundreds of comments.
IMPORTANT: If you stumble across the “story,” do not click on the link. It’s a virus. Here’s the “story,” minus the virus…
The dramatic headline:
2 moms, 5 kids killed in car crash in Lackawanna County
Even without more details, it’s clear that a terrible tragedy has happened.
The story, along with a pair of comments posted by sympathetic, spelling-challenged readers:
Two mothers and Five children died in a fiery wreck in Lackawanna County today, while two injured fathers had to be held back from the flames trying to save their families, officials said.
The two men were airlifted to a nearby hospital for burns they sustained while trying to save their families.
The two men were later identified as Carter Anderson, 35, and Nathan Mcconaghy, 47. The identities of their wives and children weren’t released. The ages of the children were 1, 3, 6, 8 and 12 years old, according.
The minivan carrying the two families collided with a black BMW and stopped on the far right shoulder of the freeway, still partially in the travel lane. The minivan was then rear-ended by a big rig, pushed into a ravine and caught fire.
Two Patrol officers saw the van catch fire, and both husbands, who were able to escape, ran up to the officers, pleading for help.
“Words can’t describe what that was like when we arrived on scene,” Officer Dan Williams said. “It was very horrific seeing them trying to get their families out, us trying to help get their families out. Like I said, the van went up in flames very, very quickly.”
Williams and his partner tried to help the fathers rescue their loved ones, even using a fire extinguisher, but to no avail. They eventually had to hold the men back from the van.
Both fathers suffered severe burns to their hands and faces.
It was unclear what caused the initial crash with the BMW. The investigation was ongoing.