Video from Turkey falsely shared to claim Iran President's helicopter was 'shot down'

By: Rajini KG
May 21 2024

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Video from Turkey falsely shared to claim Iran President's helicopter was 'shot down'

The screenshot of video that shows the Iranian president’s helicopter was shot by a missile. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The video shows a Turkey helicopter shot by Kurdish militants on May 13, 2016. It is not from Iran.

Claim ID bc3a402c

What’s the claim?

Several videos and images circulating on social media purport to show the helicopter crash that resulted in the deaths of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the country's foreign affairs minister, and six other officials on May 19, 2024. One particular video depicts a helicopter allegedly being "shot down" by a missile.

An X (formerly Twitter) user shared the video (archived here) with the caption, "The Iranian president's helicopter was attacked by a missile. #iran #Raïssi.” The same video was shared on YouTube, and an archive can be accessed here.  

Screenshots of the viral video shared online. (Source: X/YouTube/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

Here are the facts

Through a reverse image search, we found that the video predates Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s helicopter crash. We found the same footage in a video published by the Washington Post on May 14, 2016. A longer version of the video shows a man shooting a missile targeting a helicopter from the ground, and the helicopter can be seen falling into a mountainous area. At the timestamp of 0:36 seconds, we can see the now-viral footage.

The description states that on May 13, 2016, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a Marxist militant organization fighting the Turkish government, released a video that appeared to show a Kurdish fighter using a man-portable air defense system, or MANPADS, to shot down a Cobra attack helicopter in a mountainous region of Türkiye.

Screenshot of the Washington Post video. (Source: Washington Post/Screenshot)

Al-Qabas, a daily newspaper based in Kuwait, also posted the full-length video on May 16, 2016, on its Facebook account. It reported that the Turkish army's AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter was flying over mountainous terrain when it was shot down by a surface-to-air missile by a Kurdish fighter. The caption added that the original footage was released by the Gerilla channel, reportedly run by the PKK. A longer version of the video, uploaded on May 13, 2016, can be found on the website also posted the same video on its website.

Kurdish fighters have been fighting the Turkish government, demanding Türkiye to create an independent Kurdish state. Analyst Metehan Demir, a former Turkish military pilot, said, "The missile used in the attack appeared to be Russian-made."

Iran President’s death

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi died in a helicopter crash on May 19, 2024, in Iran. Seven others, including the Foreign Minister of Iran and other officials from Azerbaijan, were also killed. The cause of the crash has not yet been disclosed by the Iranian government, though preliminary reports have said the bad weather and dense fog were to blame. While the first vice president, Mohammad Mokhber, has been appointed as interim president, the Iranian authorities have planned to hold elections on June 28, 2024, AP reports.

The verdict

This video shows a Kurdish fighter shooting a helicopter in Türkiye and does not show the helicopter accident that killed Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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