Old, unrelated video falsely linked to recent train explosion in Russian tunnel

By: Annet Preethi Furtado
December 7 2023

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Old, unrelated video falsely linked to recent train explosion in Russian tunnel

Screenshots of the viral claim that the video shows a train that caught fire in the Severonomuisky tunnel in Russia. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The video has been online since at least March, and reportedly depicts a gas pipeline blast in Pelym, an urban locality in Russia’s Sverdlovsk region.

Claim ID d314dacf

On November 29, a freight train transporting diesel fuel caught fire in Russia's longest tunnel. Within hours of the explosion inside the Severonomuisky tunnel, which is located in the Russian republic of Buryatia, a second explosion targeted another fuel-laden train crossing a 35-meter-high bridge while using an alternative route in the same area. According to several international news outlets, Ukraine's spy agency appears to be behind the explosions that caused damage to fuel tanks and rail lines. 

What's the claim?

Against the backdrop of these train explosions, a 10-second clip is circulating on social media, purporting to show a train in flames while traveling through the Severomoysky tunnel. The footage features a man standing, observing a distant fire, with two parked cars in front of him. 

One user shared the video on X with the caption, "And here is the video: a train passing through the Severomoysky tunnel in #ruZZia is on fire. In total, the train consisted of 41 fuel tanks, 3 jet fuel tanks, and 6 ferrous metal cars." Archived versions of the post and other similar ones can be found here and here.

X posts claiming to show the recent explosions in Russia. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

The video has also made its way to TikTok with overlaid text that reads "tunel in Ruzzia, gone," and "There was a huge explosion in the Severomuy tunnel. In Buryatia, reports are saying it was a train that connects Russia to China." Some users shared the video with the caption, "This is how the train, which passed through the Severomuy tunnel, is on fire. It is reported that there were 41 tanks with fuel, 3 tanks with aviation fuel, and 6 wagons with ferrous metal in the warehouse."

Screenshot of TikTok posts. (Source: TikTok/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the video is from March and reportedly depicts a blast at a gas pipeline in the urban district of Pelym, Sverdlovsk Region.

What did we find?

Upon conducting a reverse image search, we found a report by Newsweek dated March 30 featuring a screenshot from the viral video. Headlined "Explosion Rocks Gas Pipeline in Russia," the report included several social media posts that carried the viral video posted around the same time on X. The report further said that the Russian energy giant Gazprom had acknowledged that a part of the Yamburg-Yelets 1 gas pipeline had caught fire during repairs on March 29. The report added that the video depicted the blast at a gas pipeline in the urban district of Pelym, Sverdlovsk Region. 

Screenshot of the Newsweek report published in March showing the reported blast at Pelym gas pipeline, Sverdlovsk Region citing a social media post. (Sources: Newsweek)

Shakhit Aliyev, head of the district, confirmed the explosion to the Russian News Agency TASS on March 29. The TASS report noted that the regional information policy department quoted Aliyev and explained that the blast had occurred due to "a depressurization of the main gas pipeline." Reuters also reported the incident on March 30, citing TASS sources. 

A Ukrainian internet publication, Obozrevatel, also carried the video and a screengrab of the same in a report dated March 29 saying that it showed an explosion at the Yamburg-Elets 1 gas pipeline in the Sverdlovsk region.  

Furthermore, the Russian daily Kommersant carried the same 10-second video with a Russian caption, describing the explosion at a gas pipeline near the village of Pelym in the Sverdlovsk region. The outlet reported that footage from the emergency scene was shared on social networks.

Although Logically Facts couldn't independently authenticate whether the viral video depicts a gas pipeline explosion in Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia, in March, multiple sources claim that the footage is from the emergency scene. Moreover, since the video dates back to at least March, it cannot be connected to the train explosions that occurred in November. 

The verdict

The viral video is old and reportedly depicts a gas pipeline explosion in Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia, back in March. It has been falsely linked to the recent Severonomuisky tunnel train explosion. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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