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True! Fish can fall from the sky, as seen in a viral IG video

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Claim: A social media user posted a video of fish falling from the sky during rainfall in Yasuj, Iran, asking if it can occur. 

True! Fish can fall from the sky, as seen in a viral IG video

Full Text

Animals incapable of flight, such as fish, frogs, and snakes, have been documented to fall from the sky in various events, particularly during rainfall. These occurrences have been recorded throughout history in oral traditions, written accounts, photographs, and, more recently, on social media.

Even with existing documentaries on the event, it continues to be a peculiar phenomenon and usually triggers strong reactions from people when it occurs.

On May 5, 2024, Tunde Ednut, a Nigerian blogger and influencer, shared a video on his Instagram page showing fish falling from the sky, an event that happened in Yasuj, Iran.

In some instances,  this event is referred to as “fish rain.”

The video elicited various reactions on social media, beginning with the caption provided by the poster and extending to a range of comments. While some affirmed that it is a natural phenomenon, others responded with sarcastic disbelief, and some attributed it to a divine occurrence.

The caption by Tunde Ednut reads, “Is this even possible?” 

One user, Kelvin_goodnews, commented, “Yes, it is possible, and it is called tornadic waterspouts.”

Another user, officialdjnanya, stated, “Yup! Very possible. This is a result of tornadic waterspouts. When a tornado forms over a sea/ocean, lifts up fishes into the sky or the top of the tornado, the tornado travels for miles, approaches land, and disappears. It’s at the point of disappearing that it flings whatever it’s been carrying into different directions. In this case, fishes.”

But can it rain fish? Is there a scientific explanation for it? These are the questions prompted by Yasuj’s incident captured in the video, and many people are eager to unravel the mystery behind fish falling from the sky.

As of this report, the post has garnered 68,548 likes, 4,933 comments, and 270 shares.

In response to the questions generated by the video online, DUBAWA decided to conduct a fact-check to verify the event’s accuracy.

Verification

There is still no sufficient scientific explanation for fish to fall from the sky, though a few hypotheses have been proposed. 

While it remains an unusual event in human experience, fish, rain, and scenarios of other animals falling from the sky have been documented throughout history.

A prevailing scientific hypothesis involves tornadic waterspouts, which are tornadoes that form over bodies of water. According to this hypothesis, a tornadic waterspout lifts animals to high altitudes and carries them long distances. This idea is supported by the types of animals typically involved in these rains—small, lightweight, and usually aquatic—and by the observation that a storm often precedes animal rains.

DUBAWA spoke to Dr Christopher S. Baird, an Associate Professor of Physics at West Texas A&M University, USA, on the possibility of fish falling from the sky. 

He explained that fish falling from the sky is a frequent occurrence. Despite the limited scientific research on the subject, a common explanation is that these events are caused by tornadic waterspouts.

Dr Baird stated, “Fish falling from the sky is a real phenomenon that happens many times a year somewhere on Earth. A tornado over water, which is known as a waterspout, sucks fish out of the sea and puts them high up in the sky. The wind blows the fish far away from their original location, and they then fall to the ground under the influence of gravity when the wind has died down. 

Because fish tend to travel in groups in the sea and tornadoes tend to have a large, bulk effect, fish typically fall from the sky with many fish falling at around the same time at the same location.”

Additionally, in Dr Baird’s “Top 50 Science Questions with Surprising Answers,” he reiterated numerous instances of fish falling from the skies. Of course, the fish do not really “rain” in the sense of condensing out of water vapour. The fish that fall from the sky are just fish that used to be in the sea and were carried into the sky due to tornadic waterspouts.

Wikipedia documents some instances of fish falling from the sky. This indicates that such events are not new and have occurred multiple times.

True! Fish can fall from the sky, as seen in a viral IG video

Conclusion

Available records of fish falling from the sky indicate that, while rare, the phenomenon is not uncommon and is typically caused by tornadic waterspouts.

This fact-check was produced as part of the DUBAWA 2024 Kwame KariKari Fellowship in partnership with Dataphyte to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in Journalism and enhance media and information literacy in the country.

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