A set of photographs which shows a crashed aircraft is being circulated on social media with the claim that a Rafale jet crashed during training and that two pilots have died in the incident. "Breaking news: one Rafale jet crash during training. 2 pilots dead," reads the caption of one such post.
The Logical Indian received a request to verify the claims.
On September 10, the Indian Air Force formally inducted the Rafale fighter jets at the Ambala airbase in the presence of the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his French counterpart Florence Parly.
Five Rafales were inducted into the No. 17 Golden Arrows squadron. This is the first imported fighter to be inducted since the Sukhoi-30s came from Russia in the late 90s.
One Rafale jet crashed during formal induction in Ambala.
The claim is false.
No news reports were found of a crash of a Rafale aircraft.
A reverse image search of all the photos indicated that three of the photos were actually from an aeroplane crash that took place in Bengaluru in February 2019.
News reports about the incident which had occurred on February 1carried the viral photographs.
One of the photographs is a Reuters image of the crash by photographer Ismail Shakil.
Journalist Darshan Devaiah B P had documented the aftermath of the crash. Two of the viral photographs were found from his twitter timeline.
According to a Times of India report, two pilots lost their lives on February 1, 2019, after the Mirage 2000 trainer fighter aircraft of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) crashed at the HAL Airport in Bengaluru. The pilots were identified as Squadron leader Siddharth Negi and Squadron leader Samir Abrol.
Therefore, the photos show a Mirage 2000 and not a Rafale aircraft, unlike the viral claims.
It is noteworthy to mention that initial tweet with the false claim was from a fan account of Shweta Singh. She is the Executive Editor of Special Programming at Aaj Tak.
The bio of this account clearly mentions that it isn't her actual account.
PIB Fact check also debunked the claims.
Therefore, old photographs from an aeroplane crash at Bengaluru were shared with false claims.