2015 image from Russia shared as wreckage of Iranian President’s helicopter

By: Ankita Kulkarni
May 22 2024

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2015 image from Russia shared as wreckage of Iranian President’s helicopter

Screenshot of viral post claiming that the image shows the wreckage of Iranian President Raisi's crashed helicopter. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The image shows a helicopter that crashed during the Aviadarts military aviation competition in Russia in August 2015.

Claim ID 98ad340b

What is the claim? 

An image of a person standing next to a helicopter engulfed in flames is circulating on social media with the false claim it shows a chopper that killed Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and six other passengers on May 19.

One post on X (formerly Twitter) sharing the image said, "The wreckage of the Iranian President's plane was found on the borders of Azerbaijan #Iranian_President (translated from Arabic.)” The post has gained 17,700 views on the platform at the time of publishing this fact-check. Archived versions of similar posts including the image to make such claims can be viewed here and here.

Screenshot of viral posts being shared on social media platforms. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

 However, we found that the image predates Raisi’s fatal helicopter crash and was captured in Russia during an airshow in 2015. 

What are the facts?

A reverse image search of the viral picture led us to the exact image published by Reuters on August 2, 2015, with the description, “A pilot stands near a burning Mi-28N from the Berkuty (Golden Eagles) helicopter display team after a hard touchdown during the "Aviadarts" military aviation competition at the Dubrovichi range near Ryazan, Russia, August 2, 2015.” The report added that the chopper crashed due to a failure of the back propeller, and one of the two pilots was killed in the crash. The report also included multiple other images from the crash. 

Comparison between the viral picture and the 2015 image. (Source: X/Reuters/Screenshot)

We also found a report published by NBC News on August 3, 2015, that included a video of a helicopter crashing to the ground, and similar visuals as the viral picture can be observed in the video at 0:25 timestamp. The report quoted the head of the Russian Air Forces, Colonel General Viktor Bondarev, as saying, “The crashed helicopter belongs to Berkut aerobatic team. The MI-28 attack helicopter’s control system failed during training. Its alarm system immediately sounded a warning. The pilots did their best to guarantee a safe flight."

Australian media outlet ABC News also reported on the incident, providing similar details.

The verdict

An image of a helicopter that crashed during a Russian airshow in August 2015 is now being shared with a false claim that it depicts the remains of a chopper that carried Iranian President Raisi. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false. 

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before