Crash pictures don’t show wreckage of Iranian president’s helicopter crash

20 May 2024
What was claimed

Pictures show the wreckage of the helicopter crash that killed the Iranian president and foreign minister.

Our verdict

These pictures are actually from 2020 and show the aftermath of a different crash in Iran involving a police training plane.

Pictures claiming to show the aftermath of the helicopter crash that killed the president of Iran has been widely shared online

Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi was killed in a helicopter crash in a mountainous region of north-west Iran, alongside foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, on Sunday 19 May.

The pictures being shared online show what appears to be the wreckage of an aircraft across a hillside. A number of people can be seen gathered around the debris, including a man looking at the camera wearing a face mask and a red and white jacket.

They also show other people wearing the same distinctive uniform, and what appears to be part of a plane marked with the number 1136 and the Iranian flag. 

But these pictures aren't from Sunday’s crash in north-west Iran. As other fact checkers have noted, the pictures show the wreckage of a two-seater training plane belonging to the Iranian police force from a separate incident in 2020. 

The internet archive website Wayback Machine has a record dating back to 25 April 2020 of the pictures being published on Tehran-based website Rokna. Wayback Machine also shows another website based in Iran’s capital, Jahan News, publishing the pictures in 2020. 

On Monday footage from the site of the crash began to emerge through Iranian state media, which looks markedly different to the scene depicted in the photos shared on social media. 

In this recent footage what appears to be a large yellow piece of debris can be seen. 

We often see misleading pictures and videos like these on social media, especially in the immediate wake of significant news events when there is a huge influx of material posted online. 

It can be difficult to know what to trust, but it’s important to use trusted sources or try to verify what you’re seeing before you share it elsewhere. Our guide on checking pictures could help you do this. 

Image courtesy of Hossein Razaqnejad

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