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Fact Check: 2019 Viral Images Of A Training Plane Crash Fictitiously Shared As Iranian President Raisi’s Helicopter Crash

Date:

On May 20, the remains of a helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and six other passengers were discovered near the mountains close to the Azerbaijan border. President Raisi’s death was confirmed following this tragic event.

Meantime, a series of images depicting the aftermath of a crashed aircraft are being widely shared on social media, claiming to be the scene of the Iranian president’s helicopter crash.

The post is shared with a caption: “Breaking: Many bodies of those died in Iran President Raisi helicopter crash have been burnt and cannot be identified.”

(Source: Facebook)

Similar claims can be seen here, here (archive) and here.

The same image showing an Aircraft with an 1136 number written on its tail is being shared by multiple mainstream media organisations, including Business Live, Asianet News World, and Kannada and many more linking it with the Iranian prez helicopter crash.

FACT CHECK

NewsMobile found the claim to be false as the three viral photos were taken in the aftermath of a police plane crash in Mazandaran province of Iran.

Running the viral video through a Reverse Image Search, the NM team identified a tweet by a journalist at BBC with the username Shayan Sardarizadeh, dated May 20, 2024, mentioning that “Three of the images in this tweet, which claims to show wreckage of the helicopter carrying the late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, are from 2020. The three photos were taken in the aftermath of a police plane crash in Mazandaran province, fact-checked by @GhonchehAzad.”

Searching for @GhonchehAzad, we found her tweet debunking the viral photos on X. Taking to X, she ascertained, “The photo claiming to show the wreckage of the helicopter of Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi was first published in 2020, showing the wreckage of a plane in Iran’s Mazandaran province.”

An extended search also leads to a tweet by the official handle of Iranian RCS carrying the same photos, dated April 22, 2020. The tweet reads: “In Mazandaran/pilot and co-pilot died Head of the relief organisation: An airplane that was flying from Bisheh Kolah to Tehran, according to public reports and military institutions, crashed at 13:00 UTC, around #متل‌قو (Salman Shahr).’

With a relevant keyword search, we found a news report by the Persian news agency, ISNA, dated May 2019. According to the report, the image with 1136 on the tail wing shows the crash of a Naja plane in the Salmanshahr area, saying: Unfortunately, two of our dear and dedicated colleagues passed away.

(Source: ISNA)

Another report from Persian media outlet Mizan Online states: “A training plane that was flying from Bisheh Kolah to Tehran. It crashed near Mutalaq (Salman Shahr) and the wreckage of the plane was found in Kila Kala Abbas Abad area in May 2019.”

(Source: Mizan Online)

Hence, we can conclusively say that the 2019 images of a training plane crash that was flying from Bisheh Kolah to Tehran have been erroneously linked to the Iranian President Raisi’s helicopter crash.

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