Old, unrelated images shared as 'wreckage of Iranian President Raisi's helicopter'

By: Ankita Kulkarni
May 21 2024

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Old, unrelated images shared as 'wreckage of Iranian President Raisi's helicopter'

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


The Verdict False

We found that three of the images are from a 2020 plane crash in Iran, while the other image is from 2019 and originates from Morocco.

Claim ID e2bc22e3

What is the claim?

Multiple images depicting the charred wreckage of a helicopter are circulating on social media, claiming they show Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's chopper that crashed on May 19, 2024. Raisi, Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, and six other passengers were reportedly killed in the crash near the Iranian-Azerbaijan border. Rescuers have recovered bodies from the site. Archived versions of the posts carrying the viral images can be found here, here, and here

Screenshot of viral posts circulating on social media. (X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the now-viral images are old and unrelated to Raisi’s death.

What are the facts?

A reverse image search of these images showed that they are unrelated to Raisi's fatal accident.

Image 1

The posts (archived here and here feature three images purportedly depicting the aftermath of Raisi's helicopter crash. One shows Red Crescent workers inspecting the area with torches, another displays the helicopter's tail marked with the number '1136,' and the third features a person in a red and white suit in front of the helicopter's tail. Notably, some of these viral pictures have been disseminated by accounts known for spreading false and misleading narratives, such as Matt Wallace (@MattWallace888) and Sulaiman Ahmed (@ShaykhSulaiman).

The caption accompanying one such post (archived [here) on X reads, "PICTURE OF THE CRASH SITE OF THE HELICOPTER. Commander of the Ashura Corps: 'Unfortunately, some of the bodies of the martyrs have been burned and cannot be identified.'" This post has garnered 500,000 views as of the time of this fact-check.

Screenshot of the viral images on social media. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

Upon investigation, we found that all images date back to April 2020, when a police force training plane crashed in Iran's Mazandaran Province. A report by the Iranian news agency Rokna Press in April 2020 featured these images, detailing the crash of a Naja training plane flying from Bisheh Kolah to Tehran near the Mutalaq area. Two police force officials lost their lives in the accident, and the wreckage was discovered in the forest.

Another local media outlet, Amolnews, reported on the incident, featuring the image of the helicopter tail marked "1136" from the viral clip. The report identified the deceased as Major Pilot Ali Eidi and Captain Pilot Ali Islami.

These three images also appear in a post (archived here), shared on X by the Red Crescent Society of Iran on April 22, 2020, acknowledging the accident's location in the Mazandaran Province. The Red Crescent is a non-government humanitarian movement with volunteers to help in rescue operations during disasters and crises.

Image 2

This image (archived here) portrays the wreckage of a helicopter's head, accompanied by Persian text roughly translating to, "The wreckage of the plane Sayed Ibrahim Raisi was found." This post has amassed over 480,000 views on X. Similar archived posts can be viewed here and here.

Screenshot of the viral images on social media. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, this image does not pertain to Raisi's fatal helicopter crash but dates back to 2019 and originates from Morocco. A report by the local media outlet Morocco World News on September 6, 2019, featured an identical image indicating the crash of an aircraft carrying cocaine in Sabt al-Zinat, near Assilah, Morocco. The pilot sustained minor injuries and was arrested, as reported by Baldi.net on September 8, 2019.

A report published by Baldi.net on September 8, 2019, also includes the now-viral image. It states that the causes of the accident were unclear and that an investigation would be conducted.

Moreover, images and visuals from the actual site of Raisi's helicopter crash, as documented by Reuters and NBC News here and here, do not match those seen in the viral photographs.

The above evidence unequivocally establishes that the viral images are outdated and do not depict the aftermath of Raisi's helicopter crash.

The verdict

Old, unrelated images from 2019 and 2020 are being shared with the false claim that they depict the wreckage of the helicopter that was carrying Iranian President Raisi. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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