'IRA footage' was from video game: TV company
The dramatic footage purported to show masked IRA fighters shooting down a British helicopter -- but a television company admitted Wednesday that it had mistakenly used a clip from a video game.
British independent broadcaster ITV blamed "human error" for the use of the clip in a documentary called "Exposure: Kadhafi" about how the deposed Libyan leader sent weapons to the Irish republican group in the 1980s.
The clip, screened on Monday, was in fact from a popular military simulation game called Arma II and was meant to depict US marines fighting rebels in a fictional eastern European nation called Chernarus.
"The events featured in 'Exposure: Kadhafi' and the IRA were genuine but it would appear that during the editing process the correct clip of the 1988 incident was not selected and other footage was mistakenly included in the film by producers," an ITV spokesman said.
"This was an unfortunate case of human error for which we apologise."
An ITV source told AFP the broadcaster did have real footage of an attack on a helicopter in Northern Ireland, which had been used in an earlier documentary on the channel.
A corrected version of "Exposure: Kadhafi" would be posted soon on its website, the source said.
In Monday's documentary, the shaky footage of masked men firing an anti-aircraft gun from the back of a truck and a helicopter going down in flames as two men parachuted out was captioned "IRA film 1988."
The head of the company that developed the game reportedly said he did not understand how the error could have occurred.
"I am not sure how they could make such (an) obvious mistake," Marek Spanel, chief executive of Bohemia Interactive Studio, was quoted as telling the games website Spong.
"On a somewhat more positive note, we consider this as a bizarre appreciation of the level of realism incorporated into our games."
Decades of unrest in Northern Ireland between the Catholic and Protestant communities were largely ended in 1998 by a peace deal and the Provisional IRA (Irish Republican Army) renounced military activity in 2005.
© 2011 AFP