No, these YouTube videos don't show Kobe Bryant's helicopter crash

More than a million people have been fooled by footage of a 2018 United Arab Emirates disaster.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
2 min read
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Basketball great Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others died Sunday in a horrific helicopter crash. Mourning for Bryant and the others continued Monday. But as often happens in the case of high-profile tragedies, some looked to capitalize on Bryant's death. Multiple videos showing a different helicopter crash were uploaded to YouTube with captions claiming they showed Bryant's crash.

CNET is choosing not to link to the hoax videos here, but the headline of one should've given away the fact that it was fake. It's titled "Video Footage Helicopter crash of Kobe bryant with her daughter," using the "her" pronoun for Bryant. That video was uploaded on Sunday and was still available on Monday afternoon, with more than 1.4 million views. The poster turned comments off, presumably so no one could point out the video was a hoax.

A second video, also posted Sunday, had more than 325,000 views as of this writing. That video did allow comments, many of which angrily pointed out the video was false and berated the YouTube user for posting it. CNET requested comment from two email addresses listed with that video, but did not receive an immediate response.

YouTube did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

One comment, from YouTube user Renee Franklin, read "Come on people...THIS ISN'T THE SAME. Look at the terrain...California hills don't look like that. And fog was out according to the weather."

On Monday, urban-legends site Snopes.com added a page about the false videos and identified the actual crash shown in the videos. According to Snopes.com, the crash shown happened in December 2018 in the United Arab Emirates when a rescue helicopter crashed near the world's largest zipline. A BBC story on the crash says four people were killed.