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Fact Check: Viral Image Showing Aircraft Wreckage Is From Kharkiv in Ukraine, NOT Of Malawi VP Chilima’s Plane Crash


Malawi’s Vice President, Saulos Klaus Chilima, and nine others, including former first lady Shanil Dzimbiri, were killed in a military plane crash on June 11. Following this, an image of aircraft wreckage is being widely shared on social media, claiming that it was carrying Malawi’s VP Chilima.

Similar claims can be seen here, here and here. (Archive link)


NewsMobile fact-checked the post, and found the claim to be false.

After carefully analysing the viral image of the aircraft wreckage, the NM team found “” written at the bottom right of the picture. Running the image through a Reverse Image Search along with keywords, we traced a report on a Chinese media outlet Xinhuanet, dated September 26, 2020, carrying the same image with a title: Ukrainian military plane most likely crashes “catching ground with its wing”.

According to the report, this photo was taken on September 26, 2020, in Chuguev, Kharkiv region, Ukraine. It was a military aircraft. The An-26 military aircraft, which had 27 people on board, crashed on Friday (September 25, 2020) while performing a training flight and attempting to land at a military base airfield near Chuguev, in the Kharkiv region.

The viral image has also been uploaded on the stock photo website Alamy with a description: “KHARKIV, Sept. 26, 2020 (Xinhua) — Rescuers cut the wreckage of the crashed An-26 military aircraft into parts in Chuguev, Kharkiv region, Ukraine, Sept. 26, 2020.” This image was uploaded alongside many others from the crash site.

Given below is a comparison between the viral picture and Image on 2020 report.

Hence, it is clear that the viral image depicting aircraft wreckage is from the 2020 Ukrainian military plane crash, NOT Malawi Vice Prez’s plane crash.

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