A 20-second video is being widely circulated on WhatsApp with the claim that it shows coronavirus-infected dead bodies dumped in a sea in Mexico with the help of choppers. The video was also posted by Arabic-speaking social media users with the same claim on Twitter (archive link) and Facebook (archive link).
رمي جثث موتى الإصابات بفايروس كورونا في البحر🤔😥
المصدر : روسيا اليوم pic.twitter.com/JYmhYKqVEa
— العراقي الفراتي (@IraqiForati) June 23, 2020
The Facebook post in question was shared over 34,000 times and viewed over 2.4 million times.
Alt News has received multiple requests to verify the video on WhatsApp (+917600011160) and on our official Android application.
Upon performing a reverse image search on Yandex, we found that the video was uploaded on video-sharing platform Coub along with Russian text in 2018. We also found a tweet by a Russian Twitter user who posted the video in 2018 with the text, “The release of paratroopers – athletes with the Mi-26.” [Translated from Выброска парашютистов – спортсменов с Ми-26.]
Выброска парашютистов – спортсменов с Ми-26 pic.twitter.com/XS1FUMbkcE
— Владимир З. (@VladZinen) August 4, 2018
Using this as a clue, Alt News performed a keyword search on YouTube and found several videos that show paratroopers jumping from MI26 helicopter. One of them, uploaded in 2018, was identical to the viral video.
While Alt News was unable to unearth more details, the fact that the video is at least two years old proves that it is unrelated to COVID-19.