A social media claim has surfaced that an Indian Air Force helicopter Rudra was shot down by Nepal and a pilot was captured. This has been promoted using a 30-second video, without any audio, that shows a helicopter shot down midair.

“Regards Nepal: Today, Indian airforces had crossed the border to conduct airstrikes on the Nepal territories. India contacted an airstrike in Belahiya. In the resulting, we’ve shot down one Indian HAL Rudra and captured one Indian pilot. Now We’ll not return pilot to India,” wrote a Twitter user.

Twitter user @Irmaknepal also posted the viral video, attracting 1,500 and retweets and over 50,000 views.

Fact-check

Alt News performed a reverse image search using InVid, a video verification platform, on Yandex that led us to a tweet by Hugo Kaaman that read “Syria”.

In 2019, he had posted the same video however with audio in the background. “A Syrian Air Force (SyAAF) helicopter explodes mid-air as it descends after being struck by opposition anti-aircraft fire above Idlib countryside on October 17, 2012. One of the craziest and most iconic videos from the entire Syrian Civil War,” read his tweet.

Using this as a clue, we performed a keyword search on Google and found that multiple media outlets had posted a video of the incident in October 2012.

As per The Telegraph, “Rebels downed a helicopter on Wednesday as troops fought to take back a key Syrian town, a watchdog said, as international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi warned the conflict risks setting the region ablaze. Fighting for control of the Damascus-Aleppo highway raged around the northwestern town of Maaret al-Numan even as Brahimi appeared to have won tentative support for a ceasefire proposal.”

Rami Abdelrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told Reuters that the helicopter had been downed near Maarat al-Numan.

Thus the social media claim that an Indian Air Force helicopter Rudra was shot down by Nepal and a pilot was captured is false. The video dates back to Syria from 2012.

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About the Author

Archit is a fact-checking journalist at Alt News since November 2019. Previously, he has worked as a producer at a TV news channel and as a reporter at a leading English-language daily. In addition to work experience in media, he has also worked as a fundraising and communication manager at an NGO.