Photo does not show Indian Air Force helicopter crashed in Nigeria

By: Rajini KG
August 17 2023

Share Article: facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo
Photo does not show Indian Air Force helicopter crashed in Nigeria


The Verdict False

The image of two Nigerian Air Force F-7NI jets that crashed in 2018 has been misinterpreted as an Indian Air Force helicopter.

Claim ID 190f7fde


An image of aircraft debris is circulating on social media (archive here) with the claim that it shows the site of an Indian Air Force helicopter crash in Nigeria. One Facebook post sharing the image was captioned, "Indian Air Force's MI-171 helicopter crash: Accident in Nigeria, 26 soldiers killed, 8 injured." The same image is being shared on X with the hashtags #IndianAirForce, #MI171, and #Nigeria. 

Screengrab of the claim (Source: Facebook/Dainik Savera, X/@NNBharatvarsh)

The picture was also shared by District General Secretary at Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha District Ujjain Rural, Vinayaka Khotari. The archive of the post can be found here.

However, the claim is false. The viral image is of a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) jet that crashed in 2018. There are no recent reports of a helicopter of an Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter crashing in Nigeria.

In fact

A reverse image search showed that the viral image is old. The same image was published by The Guardian Nigeria on September 28, 2018 with the caption, "NIGERIAN AIR FORCE JET CRASHED AT THE KATANPE HILL ALONG KUBWA EXPRESS WAY IN ABUJA ON FRIDAY."

The photograph was taken by The Guardian Nigeria's photojournalist Philip Ojisua. We could locate the debris as a number series 'TPI707.' According to The Guardian Nigeria, on September 28, two Nigeria Air Force (NAF) F-7Ni aircraft crashed near Katampe Hills in Abuja. Two jets collided during practice for Nigeria's 58th independence anniversary celebration, which was scheduled for October 1. The same image was found on the Africanews website on September 28, 2018.  

The aircraft number seen on the jet that crashed in 2018
(Source: The Guardian Nigeria/Altered by Logically Facts)

The aircraft number seen on the jet in the viral image
(Source: X/VinayakKothari_, Altered by Logically Facts)

Nigerian Air Force HQ, on its official Facebook account, stated that three pilots ejected during the crash, and one pilot, Squadron Leader Bello Baba-Ari, succumbed to his injuries. Then Chief of Air Staff Sadique Abubakar also confirmed the two jet crashes at Katampe Hills in Abuja on his X official account.

Nigerian Air Force statement on the 2018 crash
(Source: Facebook/Nigerian Air Force HQ)

We found the video of the 2018 crash site taken from a different angle on the Voice Tv Nigeria YouTube channel posted on September 28, 2019. At the 2:33 timestamp, a man can be seen holding debris from the crashed aircraft which bears the number "TPI707."  The same number series is found on the viral image.

The number seen on the jet in a news report from 2018
(Source: YouTube/VoiceTVNigeria, Altered by Logically Facts)

Logically Facts compared the viral image with the NAF F-7Ni jet image found on the NAF official website. It showed a round mark on the jet tail that matched the viral image. 

Comparison between viral image and NAF F-7NI jet image. (Source:X/
Nigerian Air Force/Altered by Logically Facts)

We also looked for recent reports of an Indian Air Force helicopter crashing in Nigeria. There are no credible news reports available online. On August 15, 2023, the official X account of the Indian Air Force retweeted a fact check by the Press Information Bureau (PIB), which dismissed this claim as fake.

PIB dismisses claim as false (Source: X/Indian Air Force)

Therefore, it confirms the helicopter that crashed in Nigeria was an NAF helicopter, not an IAF helicopter.

The verdict

The viral image shows the wreckage of two Nigerian Air Force jets that crashed in Nigeria in September 2018. There are no reports that any Indian Air Force aircraft have recently crashed in Nigeria. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

Would you like to submit a claim to fact-check or contact our editorial team?

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