After the tragic helicopter crash incident in Uttarakhand’s Kedarnath on Tuesday, a photograph and a video of the helicopter explosion have gone viral on social media claiming that they capture the tragic accident.

However, EastMojo found the viral photograph and the video have no link with the helicopter crash incident in Kedarnath that claimed 7 lives, including a pilot.

Viral Photo

Several users shared a photograph of a helicopter exploding mid-air on their Twitter profiles. Sharing the photo one user (@subhamt356) wrote, “Big accident in Uttarakhand Kedarnath…Helicopter crash in the Kedarnath Garun Chatti area, death of 6 people aboard the helicopter has been reported. Accident in Garuda Chatti of Rudraprayag…#Kedarnath #helicoptercrash “केदारनाथ” (See Archived link)

The photo was also shared by Indraj Gurjar Congress MLA from Viratnagar (Rajasthan) and P N Pathak BJP MLA from Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh) in their tweets expressing grief for the loss of lives.

See here and here for Archived links.

Fact-check

We performed a Google and Yandex reverse image search on the viral photo. We found the photo on the stock photo website iStock.

According to the details mentioned on iStock the photo was uploaded on March 24, 2015.

On further search, we found that several news reports (see here, here and here) that uses the photograph as a representative image.

Though we couldn’t confirm the exact location of the image, it is clear from the photograph is not related to the Kedarnath incident as it was uploaded 7 years back.     

Viral Video

On the other hand a video showing a helicopter bursting into flames as it bounces on the ground is also being shared on social media linking it to the helicopter crash incident in Kedarnath in Uttarakhand.

See here and here for Archived links

Fact-check

We fragmented the video into several keyframes and performed a reverse image search in one of the keyframes. This led us to a YouTube link published on April 14, 2021. The video was published by Switzerland-based web-tv FlyEurope.TV.

According to the description, the video shows a Soviet-made Mi-8 helicopter crash. Although the description doesn’t mention the details regarding the date and location of the incident as we scrolled down we noticed a comment where it says that the “chopper, belonging to the Russian “Panh Helicopters” air company” crashed during an air show in Gelendzhik in Russia on September 2014.

We then ran a Google search using relevant keywords. This led us to several news reports from 2014. According to a report published by the ‘military aviation website’ The Aviationist on September 5, 2014, “Two crewmember were killed and one heavily injured as a consequence of the incident.”

A longer version of the incident can be seen here. According to the description in the YouTube video, the incident took place in Gelendzhik on September 4, 2014, and was filmed by an ‘airport employee’.

Thus we can safely conclude that an unrelated photograph and an unrelated video are linked with the tragic helicopter crash incident in Kedarnath in Uttarakhand.


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