On December 8, an Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter carrying India’s first chief of defence staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Raje Singh Rawat, crashed in Tamil Nadu’s Coonoor. The IAF confirmed that 13 of the 14 passengers on board the chopper, including the CDS and his wife, died in the accident.

In the backdrop of this, several Twitter users have posted a video that shows a helicopter crash. It has been shared with the claim, “Satellite video of helicopter crash in Conoor. It appears the tail rotor got snapped and the chopper suddenly turned in the reverse direction and crashed within 2 seconds. No reaction time.”

Multiple Facebook users also shared this video on various groups.

A verified Tamil-language YouTube channel Mosquitobat Channel also uploaded this video with the same claim.

Alt News has received several requests to fact-check this claim on our WhatsApp helpline number (+91 76000 11160).

Graphical representation

On the bottom left of the video, the logo of ‘News7 Tamil’ can be spotted.

A keyword search on YouTube revealed that the video was uploaded by News7 Tamil PRIME on December 8. Upon translating the video title, we learnt that the video in question is a graphical representation of the helicopter crash and not a satellite video as claimed on social media.

Raj Bhagat Palanichamy, a remote sensing expert at World Resources Institute, India told Alt News, “This is a graphical video. It is worth noting that satellite images or videos are taken hundreds of kilometres above land and helicopters fly at a lower altitude as compared to aeroplanes. Thus, recording a close-up shot of a helicopter as shown in the video is not possible via satellite nor its sound be heard at this resolution or zoom level. Moreover, there is no live capture satellite available in the public domain at this resolution.”

To sum it up, a graphical representation of the recent IAF helicopter crash by News7 Tamil PRIME was shared with the false claim that it is a genuine satellite video.

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About the Author

Archit is a senior fact-checking journalist at Alt News. Previously, he has worked as a producer at WION and as a reporter at The Hindu. In addition to work experience in media, he has also worked as a fundraising and communication manager at S3IDF.