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FACT CHECK: Video shows 2021 US ship shock trial, not missile blast from China


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FACT CHECK: Video shows 2021 US ship shock trial, not missile blast from China
A video falsely claims a US ship was almost hit by a missile fired by the Chinese Navy in the East China Sea

Claim: A video shows a United States aircraft carrier almost being hit by a missile fired by the Chinese Navy. 

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim can be found in a video uploaded on September 26 in the YouTube channel “AMERICAN FUTURE,” with 7,914 views as of writing. The video’s description states that a Luyang-III class destroyer from China fired the missile, which came close to the US carrier but caused no damage or injuries.

Footage of the supposed missile blast can be seen from 0:29 to 0:32 of the video, with a flipped image being shown from 0:46 to 0:48.

The bottom line: The blast shown in the video was not caused by a missile fired by the Chinese Navy. Instead, it was footage of a 2021 “full ship shock trial” conducted by the US Navy in the Atlantic Ocean. 

Additionally, there are no recent news reports about a supposed incident between US and Chinese warships in the East China Sea.

Footage from US Navy and news reports: Full ship shock trials involve setting off explosives near an operational ship to test its seaworthiness. According to the US Navy, shock trials are done to confirm that the vessels “can continue to meet demanding mission requirements under harsh conditions they might encounter in battle.”

The particular shock trial seen in the misleading video features the aircraft carrier USS Gerald Ford, footage of which can be accessed on the US defense department’s Defense Visual Information Distribution Service website. 

The 0:14 to 0:18 mark of a video posted on August 9, 2021 resembles the supposed missile blast depicted in the video from “AMERICAN FUTURE.” The same video from the US Navy can also be found on its official YouTube channel.

News reports, such as one from CBS News dated June 21, 2021, also showed footage of the shock trial; the portion from 0:14 to 0:29 shows the explosion. The report added that the blast registered as a 3.9 magnitude earthquake. 

No reported incidents: The misleading video was posted on September 26, but there are no recent news reports about a supposed incident between US and Chinese vessels. The most recent encounter was in June 2023, when warships from the two countries nearly collided in the Taiwan Strait.

Previous related fact-checks: Rappler has published a fact-check in December 2022 on a video that misrepresented a USS Gerald Ford shock trial as footage of US forces destroying a Chinese ship near the West Philippine Sea. (READ: FACT CHECK: US forces set off explosion to test ship’s durability)

– Percival Bueser/ Rappler.com 

Percival Bueser is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. You may also report dubious claims to #FactsFirstPH tipline by messaging Rappler on Facebook or Newsbreak via Twitter direct message. You may also report through our Viber fact check chatbot. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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