Another Petrol Queue Death from Thalakotuwa Gardens? Find out the truth…

False Social

Due to the severe fuel shortage in Sri Lanka, huge vehicle queues can be observed near almost every petrol station. These inconveniences caused by long queues had disrupted the lifestyle of many citizens and we noticed media reports of several deaths at fuel queues as well.

In this context, we came across a series of posts claiming to be the death of an old person in a petrol queue at Thalakotuwa Gardens, Colombo 05. However, Factcrescendo Sri Lanka team found the said person was not at any fuel queue, at the time of his unfortunate death.

Let’s have a look at the claim.

Social Media Posts:

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This photo was widely circulated on social media under the theme ‘Another death in the petrol queue’ .

Due to the viral nature of these posts, we decided to find out the facts behind these claims.

Fact Check 

As this photo has been circulating on social media since last June 16th, we checked whether there were any mainstream media reports of a death at a fuel queue in Thalakotuwa Gardens . Yet, we could not find such reports and Hiru News had reported that the person who had died in Thalakotuwa Gardens was not from a fuel queue.

Kirulapone Police OIC

We inquired the OIC (Officer-In-Charge) of the Kirulapone Police Station, regarding this incident as the location mentioned in the posts (Thalakotuwa Gardens) belongs to Kirulapone Police Station.

The OIC stated that the incident was not a death that occurred at a fuel queue. He confirmed that the deceased was a grandparent, who had come to pick up his granddaughter from the school and his vehicle was parked near the AIS / Ilma International Girls’ Schools on Thalakotuwa Gardens. The OIC said the person had died on the spot due to an emergency.

Asian International School (AIS)

AIS security officer stated that the deceased was the grandfather of a Grade 1 student of the Asian International School and that he had died while his car was parked in Thalakotuwa Gardens near AIS and Ilma International Girls’ Schools.

Police officers were also present at the scene immediately, along with a doctor who was in the vicinity, however, the doctor had confirmed the person had already died, the security official said.

He also stated that there were no fuel queues on the Thalakotuwa Gardens to date, and that the nearest petrol stations are near Lanka Hospital and near the Mayura Kovil. None of those queues would enter the Thalakotuwa Gardens, the security official clarified.

Google Maps

In the above map, black arrows indicate the general vehicle queue directions with regards to the Lanka IOC filling stations near the Lanka Hospital & Mayura Kovil. The location where this tragic death occurred, is marked with a red arrow and Thalakotuwa Gardens is marked in green, which does not have any fuel queue.

Also, Google Street View (March 2022) of Thalakotuwa Gardens indicates that the background of this road and is quite similar to the background of the said location, seen in the viral photo.

Rochelle Melder, a teacher from AIS, also confirmed that the photo, which had circulated on social media claiming to be a death at a petrol queue in Thalakotuwa Gardens was “untrue” and that the concerned grandparent had died in the car park near the Asian International School. 

We also inquired from Tub on the Rocks, an ice cream manufacturer located near the scene of the incident. They too confirmed the above information and said that there haven’t been any fuel queues on Thalakotuwa Gardens, to-date.

Please note that it is not possible for us to independently verify whether the deceased person was at any fuel queue before he had come to the car park near the Asian International School.

Deaths at Queues in Sri Lanka

However, during the last few days, there have been several deaths reported from fuel queues in various parts of the country. A 55 year-old three-wheeler driver had faced a tragic death at a fuel queue in Panadura as reported here. Also there had been quite a few deaths reported from cooking gas queues during the last few months in Sri Lanka.

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Conclusion

Our investigation reveals that the viral photo claiming to be a death at a fuel queue in Thalakotwa Gardens is misleading. 

The Kirulapone Police OIC along with the security officer and a teacher at Asian International School (AIS) confirmed that the person had died on the spot in a parked vehicle near the AIS on Thalakotuwa Gardens. The deceased was a grandfather who had come to pick up his granddaughter studying at AIS.

Also, there haven’t been any fuel queues in Thalakotuwa Gardens to-date.

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Title:Another Petrol Queue Death from Thalakotuwa Gardens? Find out the truth…

Fact Check By: Pavithra Sandamali 

Result: False

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