Viral

Disturbing Baltimore Bridge 911 'survivor' call prank spreads on social media

Disturbing Baltimore Bridge 911 'survivor' call prank spreads on social media
Francis Scott Key bridge collapse: Frame by frame
Fox - 10 Phoenix / VideoElephant

A fake 911 call claiming to be from a driver on the Francis Scott Key Bridge when it collapsed is going viral on social media.

The call began circulating after authorities announced that they had suspended searches for six workers who were on the bridge in Baltimore at the time of the collapse.

The Coast Guard said the the six workers had been missing for too long to be found alive and they should be presumed dead. Two other workers were rescued on Tuesday.

Since Wednesday, multiple TikTok accounts have shared the fake phone call that claims to be "911 call" from a "survivor" of the collapse.

A TikTok posted by user @thedramatik on March 27, 2023, has been viewed more than 3 million times, with the audio playing over a photo of the collared Francis Scott Key Bridge. Snippets of the audio include:

Caller: I'm under the Baltimore Key Bridge. The bridge collapsed while I was driving.

Dispatcher: What, what do you mean the bridge collapsed?

Caller: I don't know it was like something hit it. Uh, my car is filling up fast with water. Help me. Now please help me.

As well as:

Caller: The door, it won't budge. It's jammed or something. I'm gonna try the window. I broke the window. Water is rushing in faster now.

Dispatcher: Excellent keep talking to me. Tell me when you're out of the car.

Caller: Okay I swam out. I'm holding on to a piece of the bridge. Oh my God. The bridge is destroyed, he's gone.

Dispatcher: Oh, my god you're right. I see it on the news. Okay, hold on tight, I send the signal. The help is on the way.

The same TikTok was then shared by other users, with some amassing over 2 million views for the fake call.

@thedramatik

911 call recieced from survivor or baltimore bridge collapse đŸ¥²đŸ˜³ #baltimore #fyp

Not only is the call fake, but it also appears to be created by artificial intelligence.

Professor Manjeet Rege, Director of the Centre for Applied Artificial Intelligence at the University of St. Thomas, told Newsweekthere are several indicators to call being a fake.

"One sign is unnatural speech patterns—AI-generated speech may lack the natural variations, disfluencies, like 'uh' or 'um', and emotional nuances present in real human speech, sounding overly monotonous or robotic."

None of these nuances appear in the phone call.

"Another potential giveaway is abnormalities in the background noise," Professor Rege added

"Real 911 calls will have consistent background noises matching the reported scenario, while AI fakes may have inconsistent, unrealistic, or lack of appropriate background audio."

Professor Rege also pointed out that the voice in the clip appear to sound similar but the variation leads it to sound as though "different people have been stitched together artificially."

Another AI expert, Professor Ahmed Banafa at San Jose State University told Newsweek that, there were "no emotional of real fear or urgency or shock in the call" saying it sounded "scripted".

Further, it is extremely unlikely that a 911 call from collapse would be released so quickly.

Under Maryland Public Information Act guidelines, a receipt of request can take up to 10 working days. Which means the "survivor call" would have been released within 18 hours of the bridge collapsing.

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