Photo shows aftermath of US ship fire in 1967, not Huthi attack

A decades-old photo showing the damaged deck of the USS Forrestal has resurfaced in Chinese-language social media posts that falsely claimed it showed the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower after it was "attacked by Huthi missiles" in May 2024. Washington has denied that any of its navy vessels were damaged by Yemen's Huthi rebels. The image in fact shows the aftermath of a deadly fire that spread across the flight deck of the USS Forrestal in July 1967.

"Aircraft carrier Eisenhower after being attacked by Huthis missiles. Didn't the US say it wasn't attacked? Did they bomb themselves?" read a simplified Chinese post on X, formerly Twitter, from June 2, 2024.

The photo, which was viewed more than 300,000 times, appears to show workers repairing the badly damaged flight deck of an aircraft carrier.

Screenshot of the false X post, captured on June 10, 2024

The video circulated shortly after Yemen's Huthi rebels claimed that they had launched a missile attack on the US aircraft carrier the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Red Sea on May 31, 2024. Washington has not confirmed the aircraft carrier was targeted.

The Iran-backed Huthis, who control much of Yemen, have carried out scores of drone and missile attacks on vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden since November, citing solidarity with Palestinians over the Israel-Hamas war. 

Huthi military spokesperson Yahya Saree said in a statement on X the move was in response to 16 people being killed and more than 40 wounded in Yemen's port city of Hodeida alone, including an unspecified number of civilians.

The toll announced by the Huthis, which AFP could not independently verify, would make the strikes some of the deadliest since the US and Britain launched their campaign in January against disruption of the vital trade route.

The same photo was shared elsewhere on X here and here, Facebook here and here, and on Weibo.

Washington reportedly dismissed claims the ship had been damaged or struck (archived link).

The photo in fact shows the aftermath of a deadly fire that broke out on board another US aircraft carrier in 1967.

USS Forrestal fire

A reverse image search on Google found the photo published on the website of Getty Images (archived link).

The photo's caption read: "UNSPECIFIED - 1967: Repair crews working to fix the damaged deck of the USS Forrestal CVA-59 after a deadly fire in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Vietnam War. (Photo by Dick Swanson/Getty Images)".

Below is a screenshot comparison of the falsely shared photo (left) and the Getty Images photo (right):

Screenshot comparison of the falsely shared photo (left) and the Getty Images photo (right)

The fire on the flight deck of the USS Forrestal on July 29, 1967 killed 134 sailors and aviators, injured 161, and destroyed 21 aircraft, according to an article on the US Navy website (archived link).

AFP has debunked other false claims of US ships damaged by Huthi rebels in the Red Sea here and here.

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