Hours after an aircraft operated by private airlines Tara Air went missing with 22 passengers on board, an image purportedly showing the wreckage of the missing aircraft is being widely shared online. Newschecker found that the image is old and unrelated. Read on further for our full investigation.
What do we know about the missing plane?
The Twin Otter plane 9NAET took off from Pokhara airport at 9:55 am and had last contacted Johmsom Tower at 10:07 from the Ghodepani area, according to a statement issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN). A FishTail helicopter, which left for search operation shortly after the plane went missing, had to turn back due to inclement weather and poor visibility in the mountainous region, CAAN said in a statement.
Even as the authorities try to locate the missing aircraft, social media is flooded with condolence messages and an image purporting to show the wreckage of the Tara Air aircraft.
Newly elected vice-chairperson of Tribeni Rural Municipality, Kalikot district, Parbati Singh uploaded a Facebook post with an image. “Extremely sorry to hear the crash of an aircraft taking off for Jomsom from Pokhara with 22 people on board. I express my deepest condolences to all the deceased,” the post reads. However, the post has been removed now.
Along with Singh, many social media users of Nepal have shared various images and expressed their condolences. We found several Facebook posts claiming to show the Tara Air crash.
Fact Check /Verification
To check the authenticity of the claim made in the viral post, we conducted a reverse image search on the viral image which threw up several results carrying the same picture.
One of the articles published on the India Today website carried the image stating that the picture was clicked at the time of the chopper crash involving India Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat. General Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, and 11 other persons who were on board the chopper died when it crashed near Tamil Nadu’s Coonoor in December 2021.
On checking the latest status of the missing aircraft, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal issued a statement informing about the continuing search operation to locate the missing aircraft. The statement confirmed that the missing aircraft had not been located until the time of writing this article.
Viral image claiming to show the wreckage of the missing Tara Airplane actually shows the Indian Airforce (IAF) Chopper that crashed in Tamil Nadu, India in December 2021 killing the Indian CDS Bipin Rawat and twelve others.