At least that’s what we’ve been led to believe.
Turns out the man identified as a victim in all three attacks is actually alive, and is the victim of an ongoing, sick revenge prank by former friends who say he owes them money, France24 reports.
After EgyptAir Flight 804 crashed into the Mediterranean sea on May 19, a picture of ‘Alfonso’ began to spread across Twitter. The tweet from @sidaxmejicano read: “@EGYPTAIR my brother traveled there. I’m scared for her life. Please help me.”
The BBC happened to notice the prank and even wrote a story about misleading Tweets like this one. That didn’t stop them.
A month later it happened again. ‘Alfonso’ was identified as one of the victims in the massacre that killed 49 people at gay club Pulse in Orlando, Florida on June 12.
While the tweet identifying the man as a victim can’t be found, his photo appeared in a New York Times memorial video alongside pictures of the real victims. The video was edited to remove the photo on Tuesday, according to France24.
It didn’t stop there.
On June 28, he was identified as having been tragically killed at the Istanbul Atatürk Airport terrorist attack. User @marty_batiato posted a different picture of the same man, writing: “#help my brother Alfonso was on #Atatürk Airport and we dont know anything about him, help please help #Turkey,” the Daily Mail reports.
Unfortunately, it’s not just these three high-profile tragedies that ‘Alfonso’ has been the ‘victim’ of.
On June 19, Mexican police shot at a crowd of people protesting against education reform, killing at least eight people. Social media users shared his photo again, this time they claiming he was the official who ordered police to open fire on the protesters.
Apparently, the vicious joke is all because he owes his former friends some money.
The man, who remains anonymous, told France24:
My photo is everywhere because of someone who started it as a prank after a legal dispute. I never reported the people who did this to me because, in Mexico, nothing ever happens in these kinds of cases.
Now, my photo has appeared in several stories that were widely shared on Twitter. I contacted several media outlets like the BBC and the New York Times and asked them to delete my photo but they never responded.
France24 also managed to speak to the gang who ‘have a personal vendetta against him’.
This man used to be my friend but he’s cheated money out of at least four people who I know.
Our goal is to ruin his reputation. We want the whole world to recognize his face.
But it doesn’t matter how much money someone has conned another person out of – to ruthlessly post someone’s face as a victim in vicious terrorist attacks is, quite frankly, completely unacceptable and insensitive to the real victims and their families.
Hopefully these guys are done with this tasteless prank.