Fact Check: NOT All Photos In Post Are Authentic Images Of Helicopter Crash That Killed Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: NOT All Photos In Post Are Authentic Images Of Helicopter Crash That Killed Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Another Crash

Do all the pictures in a social media post show wreckage of the helicopter accident that killed Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in May 2024? No, that's not true: Only one of the four images was of the aftermath of the crash in northwestern Iran. The other three photos, one shown twice, were originally posted by the Red Crescent Society of Iran more than four years earlier and show a plane crash in Iran's Mazandaran Province in April 2020.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) published on X, formerly Twitter, by Sulaiman Ahmed on May 20, 2024. The post's caption said:


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


(Source: X screenshot taken on Mon May 20 14:12:30 2024 UTC)

The post

The bottom left image from the post above (outlined in red) is the only one that shows the May 19, 2024, crash that took the life of Raisi. The photo also appeared in a story about the accident published on May 20, 2024, on Ynetnews, the online English-language Israeli news website of Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel's most-read newspaper. It appears below:


(Source: Ynetnews screenshot taken on Mon May 20 18:13:24 2024 UTC)

The other three images -- two top photos and the one in the bottom right corner of the post that's the focus of this fact check -- all appeared previously in an April 22, 2020 post by the Red Crescent Society of Iran, a humanitarian group, with those photos predating the May 19, 2024, accident by more than four years. That 2020 post is shown below:


(Source: X screenshot taken on Mon May 20 18:44:39 2024 UTC)

Iran's Mehr News Agency reported the accident on April 22, 2020, as did the Techrato website.

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Other fact check agencies have also reviewed this claim, including India Today, The Quint, NewsMeter, Newschecker and Digital Forensics, Research and Analytics Center.

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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