China's 'Loch Ness Monster' Turns Out To Be Nothing But Deflated Airbag

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A mysterious long, black object spotted on video in the Yangtze River which prompted theories of China's own Loch Ness monster aka Nessie has turned out to be 20-meter-long industrial airbag.

Social media in China was abuzz with grainy footage of what appeared to be a long black sea creature slithering among the waves near the Three Gorges Dam in Hubei province. The video has been viewed over 32 million times on Weibo since it emerged last Friday. Notably, the video found wide coverage by major media, including Beijing Youth Daily, and state broadcaster CCTV and China Daily.

As soon as the video went viral, people started guessing as to what it may be, with some believing the visible part to be the top of a much larger animal. It soon got a name "Three Gorges Water Monster" by netizen. Some went on to the extent to theorised that pollution in the river could have given rise to the creature. Scientists dismissed any idea of a new species, saying the creature was possibly a giant water snake.

All guesses came to an end on Tuesday after workers at a ferry pier downstream from the reservoir fished out a long piece of tubing, possibly discarded from a shipyard. Local media pictures also showed another large piece of black rubbish washed ashore near the alleged sighting.

Asia’s longest largest river, Yangtze that stretches from the edge of Tibet to China’s east coast, is currently one of the most polluted due to industrial growth and overfishing, a report by The Guardian said, adding that an estimated one-third of fish species in the river are endangered the baiji dolphin, believed to have lived in the river for over 20 million years, has become extinct.

On one hand where some observers lamented the end of the tale, and the poor video quality giving rise to theories of a sea monster, others said local authorities should maintain the mystery.

The report quoted one saying, “Don’t take it out of the water. Seal the area, turn it into a tourist attraction and open it up to the world.”

“Disappointed. This is a cruel blow to human imagination and the desire to explore,” it quoted the other saying.