On 8 December, an IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter crashed into the Coonoor ghat in the Nilgiris in western Tamil Nadu. The crash killed 13 out of 14 passengers, including the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat. Following the accident, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced a tri-service inquiry headed by Air Marshal Manvendra Singh, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Training Command.
Against this backdrop, a photo is shared on social media claiming that it shows the IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter that recently crashed in Tamil Nadu.
A photo showing a crashed helicopter beside a river and defence officials standing around is being shared, claiming it is IAF Mi-17V5 that crashed into the Coonoor ghat.
A user shared the photo and captioned, "Praying for the people in the #ArmyChopperCrashVery saddened to see such horrific #crash."
Another user shared the photo and captioned, "Army helicopter crash,i pray to god. CDS #ARMYSelcaDay Ooty. #BipinRawat".
The Logical Indian Fact Check team verified the claim and found it false. The photo is two years old, taken in 2019 when an Indian Army helicopter made a force-landing in the Poonch district of Jammu.
We conducted a Google reverse image search of the photo, which led us to media reports that carried the same picture.
The same photo was used as a featured image in an NDTV article published on 24 October 2019. According to the report, an ALH Dhruv helicopter had to make a force-landing in Poonch after developing a technical snag. Northern Army Northern Army Commander Lt Gen Ranbir Singh and eight other armed officers were on board and had a miraculous escape. No casualties were reported in the accident.
Deccan Herald also reported the incident and used the same photo as its featured image. The report stated that since 2007, it was the 11th crash of the HAL-made Dhruv ALH, which the Defence Ministry has projected as a product fit for exports. An excerpt from the report read, "Almost a decade ago, India sold ALH to Ecuador, out of which one crashed during a military parade in 2009. Subsequently, there was a second crash."
India Today also covered the incident and used the same image in their reports.
To sum up, an old photo of a helicopter crash is shared with false links to the recent IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu, killing 13 out of 14 passengers, including the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat.
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