Old video of collapsed bridge falsely linked to Taiwan quake in April 2024

Dramatic footage of a bridge that collapsed after an earthquake in Taiwan in 2022 was falsely shared online as the aftermath of a deadly jolt that hit the island in April 2024. The destroyed bridge had not in fact been rebuilt when the latest quake struck. 

"Bridge collapsed during the April 3 earthquake!" reads the traditional Chinese caption of a TikTok video shared on April 3, 2024.

The aerial footage, which shows a mangled road twisting through the countryside, racked up more than 2.1 million views. 

At least 13 people were killed and more than 1,140 injured by a magnitude-7.4 jolt that struck Taiwan on April 3, the island's strongest in 25 years.

Strict building codes and widespread disaster readiness was credited with averting an even bigger catastrophe.

But landslides around the epicentre Hualien still blocked tunnels and roads, making the mountainous terrain around the county difficult for rescuers to access survivors and victims.

Screengrab of the false post.

The video was shared in similar posts on TikTok and YouTube that falsely claimed it showed the aftermath of the quake.

Old drone footage

However, the video was in fact taken in September 2022 following a 6.9-magnitude tremor in southeastern Taiwan.

A reverse image search and keyword searches on Google found the video published by Reuters news agency on September 20, 2022 (archived link).

According to the video caption, it shows the Gaoliao Bridge in the Yuli Township of Hualien County, which was destroyed by the quake two days earlier.

Below are screenshot comparisons between the video circulating on social media (left) and Reuters' video from 2022 (right):

Screenshot comparisons between the video circulating on social media (left) and Reuters'' video from 2022 (right)

The earthquake killed at least one person, brought down a handful of buildings and tore up roads in September 2022, AFP reported.

AFP published footage on September 19, 2022 showing the same collapsed bridge, adding that three people who were on the bridge when the quake hit were later rescued by fire fighters after falling off the damaged structure.

According to a Hualien County Government report, the reconstruction of the Gaoliao Bridge began on January 5, 2024 and was expected to be completed in late 2025 (archived link).

The report shows a photo of the bridge from January 2024 -- three months before the quake -- which shows it unrepaired (archived link).

AFP has debunked other misinformation about the April 2024 Taiwan earthquake here.

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