Back to Africa Check

Shapeshifting alien stopped Likoni channel recovery in Kenya? No, photo of US shipwreck in Pacific Ocean

A woman and her child drowned on 29 September 2019 when their car slid off a ferry crossing the Likoni channel in Mombasa, Kenya, and plunged into the ocean.

Efforts to retrieve their bodies were hampered by the depth of the water and zero visibility. They were finally recovered on 11 October, 13 days after the accident.

The long delay led to speculation and misinformation on social media.

With the header “LIKONI EXCLUSIVE - What divers found,” one Facebook user shared a photo of a scuba diver underwater next to an object that could resemble a massive fish.

“There is a very huge shapeshifting alien creature with a fishy face trying to block our way hence hindering our efforts to cover a wide area down there,” the post reads.

“This creature has a very dark face and whenever it appears, the whole area becomes nearly invisible that even the most powerful lights cannot withstand the darkness.”

Shipwreck in Pacific Ocean

Using a reverse image search, we found the photo on the stock image collections of Age Fotostock, Alamy and Getty Images.

The photo was taken on 12 May 2008 by wildlife photographer Reinhard Dirscherl

It shows a diver at the wreck of aircraft carrier USS Saratoga, which sunk in mid-1946 during an atomic bomb test. 

It’s captioned: “Diver at Anchor Hawse Hole at Bow of USS Saratoga Marshall Islands Bikini Atoll Micronesia Pacific Ocean.”

The shipwreck is a popular scuba-diving destination.

The photo does not show an underwater “alien creature” and the photo was not taken during recovery efforts at Likoni. – Dancan Bwire 

Further reading:

Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.