Old video shared as recent U.S. military aircraft crash in Australia

By: Annet Preethi Furtado
August 29 2023

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Old video shared as recent U.S. military aircraft crash in Australia


The Verdict False

The video shows a Tennessee National Guard Black Hawk helicopter crash in Alabama, U.S., in February 2023.

Claim ID 26112fa3

On August 27, 2023, a United States Marine Corps aircraft crashed in Australia during Operation Predators Run, a collaborative multinational training operation involving forces from the U.S., Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and East Timor. The crash occurred on Melville Island, resulting in the death of three U.S. Marines. Further, 20 other passengers on board the aircraft during the crash suffered injuries.

What's the claim?

Against the backdrop of this incident, a 12-second video was widely shared on X (formerly Twitter), purportedly depicting the U.S. military aircraft that crashed in Australia. The video, which consists of a repeating short clip, showcases a dense plume of dark smoke rising from the side of a highway, with several vehicles visible, accompanied by a caption: "U.S. military helicopter crash in Australia. The Silent War." One such tweet dated August 27 has garnered 19,500 views and 373 likes. The archives can be found here and here

The video claiming to show a U.S. military helicopter crash in Australia. (Source:X/@ShadowofEzra/@BaldauPandey12/Altered by Logically Facts)

However, the video originates in February 2023 and reportedly portrays a Tennessee National Guard Black Hawk helicopter crash in Alabama, U.S.

What we found

Upon conducting a reverse search of the keyframes from the viral video, we found a report by media outlet Storyful, published by Yahoo News, dated February 16, 2023. The report carried a roughly minute-long video of repeats of the same short clip. According to this report, the video showed the crash of a Black Hawk helicopter belonging to the Tennessee National Guard on February 15, 2023, along Highway 53 near Huntsville, Alabama, U.S. 

The footage in this report, considerably more precise than the video shared on social media, featured thick billows of black smoke emanating from the crash site, all while several cars lined the adjacent road.

Comparison between the viral video and the video in the Yahoo News report. (Source: X/@BaldauPandey12/Yahoo/Altered by Logically Facts)

The Black Hawk helicopter crash in Alabama was also reported by the Washington Post and CBS News. The video in the Washington Post's report closely resembled the online version. In its report, CBS News carried a news segment on the crash, which matched the viral video exactly between the 00:18 and 00:20-second mark.

Screengrab of the videos posted on CBS News and the Washington Post. (Source: CBS News/The Washington Post)

On February 16, the Tennessee Department of Military stated that the Black Hawk helicopter was approaching Huntsville Executive Airport when it rapidly descended and crashed. The department confirmed the identities of the two Tennessee Army National Guard pilots who tragically died in the accident. The pilots were Chief Warrant Officer 3 Daniel Wadham of Joelton and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Danny Randolph of Murfreesboro. No further injuries were reported among other individuals, civilian or military.

The verdict

An old video, reportedly from Alabama in the U.S., was falsely circulated as depicting the recent U.S. military helicopter crash in Australia in August 2023. Logically, Facts could not independently confirm the source of the video. However, as it has existed on the internet since February 2023, predating the crash in Australia, we have marked the claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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