False claim: Photo shows coffins of coronavirus victims in Italy

Each shared well over 100 times on Facebook as of March 28, 2020, two social media posts show a photograph of three long rows of coffins (here and here), along with the message that people should stay home. As such, the caption suggests this image is related to the ongoing coronavirus crisis and the need to follow social distancing guidelines. This link is misleading, as the image is actually from 2013.

A migrant shipwreck occurred on October 3, 2013 when a ship carrying African migrants sank off the coast of Lampedusa, an Italian island off the coast of Tunisia, (here) with a reported final death toll of over 360 (here). The photo was taken in a hangar at Lampedusa Airport on October 5, 2013 by Agence France-Presse photographer Alberto Pizzoli (here).

As Italy’s death toll from the coronavirus grows, images from March 2020 do similarly show long rows of coffins holding people who have died from Covid-19. Photographs from a Reuters photographer, published here and here capture the devastating impact of the virus in some Italian towns.


False: while Italy’s coronavirus death toll continues to rise, the image featured in these posts is from 2013.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact checking work  here  .