Fact Check: Photo of Pilot Ejecting From Exploding Plane Does NOT Show Shootdown of Russian Plane

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fact Check: Photo of Pilot Ejecting From Exploding Plane Does NOT Show Shootdown of Russian Plane Old Photo

Was the photo used by KyivPost to illustrate a tweet about the alleged downing of a plane over Ukraine a picture of the actual incident? No, that's not true: The photo of a pilot ejecting from a MiG-29S Fulcrum was taken in 1993 shortly after a collission with another plane at an airshow in Fairford, U.K.

The photo appeared in a tweet published by @KyivPost on February 24, 2022, titled "KyivPost on Twitter" (archived here), which contained following description of the photo:

'The 6th shot down. Slava Ukrayini! Heroyam Slava!'

This is what the post looked like on Twitter at the time of writing:

Twitter screenshot

(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Thu Feb 24 10:50:02 2022 UTC)

To be clear, this fact check is not concerned with the question of whether Ukraine downed any planes (or how many) during the Russian invasion of February 24, 2022. Events on the ground are fast moving, and it is difficult to confirm such events.

But the photo is simply a mirrored version of a picture taken on July 24, 1993, of an accident at an airshow. AirTeamImages describes it as:

The first of a sequence of photos of the mid air collision between two Russian Mig 29s. No one was killed or seriously injured in the incident. The pilot can be seen ejecting

Here is some video of the incident:


  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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