A day after the tragic death of India’s first Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu’s Coonoor, a video showing a Mi 17 crash landing is being shared widely on Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp claiming to show the fatal accident. The video shows a chopper descending slowly in a hilly terrain, and tilt sideways as it lands, with its blades furrowing the ground. Newschecker has found the video to be from another incident of an Mi 17 crash landing in Arunachal Pradesh and not related to the helicopter crash involving Gen Bipin Rawat.
Several social media users shared the video of the Mi 17 crash landing on social media platforms, claiming that it was from Coonoor. One of the posts, shared by handle @Rashid_magic has garnered about 100 shares and over 250 likes on Twitter.
The video has also been shared on Facebook by several users.
To find the veracity of the video, Newschecker conducted a reverse image search of the viral video by using the key frames.
On researching further, we found a similar video of an Mi 17 crash landing on the YouTube channel of Zee24 Taas, uploaded on November 2021.
The caption in the video also mentions that the incident occurred in Arunachal Pradesh. On inspection, the two videos were found to be indistinguishable.
Newschecker also found a tweet by news agency ANI carrying the same footage of the Mi 17 crash landing which described it to be from Arunachal Pradesh.
A little after 6PM on December 8, the IAF tweeted that Gen Rawat and his wife Mrs Madhulika Rawat were among the 13 casualties in the accident. “With deep regret, it has now been ascertained that Gen Bipin Rawat, Mrs Madhulika Rawat and 11 other persons on board have died in the unfortunate accident,” the Indian Air Force (IAF) tweeted.
Gen Rawat was on a visit to Defence Services Staff College, Wellington (Nilgiri Hills) to address the faculty and student officers of the Staff Course. Reports revealed that the helicopter crashed shortly after it took off from the Air Force base in Sulur at 11.45 am, Coimbatore, for Wellington.
Thus, based on the media reports we found and the videos available on the internet, it is clear that the video of an Mi 17 crash landing does not show CDS Gen Bipin Rawat’s helicopter (IAF Mi-17V5) accident. This video is from an accident in Arunachal Pradesh that happened earlier in November this year.