Indonesian posts combine old photo and news report in claim about 'fatal Eid car crash in 2022'

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An image of a car wreck has circulated in multiple blog articles that claim it shows a deadly traffic accident on the Indonesian island of Java on April 29, 2022, as tens of millions of people travelled to their hometowns to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr festival. However, the claim is false; the image shows a car accident in June 2021 in another island, while details about the purported crash reported by the blogs were lifted from another incident on Java in August 2021.

The link to the blog article -- with the photo as a thumbnail -- was shared on Facebook here on May 1, 2022.

Translated to English, the post's caption reads: "Verily we belong to Allah, this happened this afternoon, 7 people who were going home for Eid al-Fitr died in an accident! Three of them belonged to one family, died on the way to the hospital."

The blog post published in April 2022 has the same headline, but the content of the article purports that one person died in the crash involving three vehicles.

The Indonesian-language blog post reads, in part: "Three vehicles were involved in an accident in front of the Mitra Iron Shop on Friday, April 29, 2022. One motorcyclist died at the scene with serious head injuries.

"This traffic accident occurred on Godean-Ngapak Road. The exact location was in front of the Mitra Iron Shop, Godean district, Sleman regency, Yogyakarta."

Screenshot of the misleading Facebook post, taken on May 2, 2022

The posts circulated as tens of millions of Indonesians travelled to their hometowns on April 28, 2022 on an annual exodus from Jakarta and other major cities before the Eid al-Fitr holidays, which fell on the first week of May this year, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

The yearly homecoming journey -- locally known as "mudik" -- had been stalled for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The misleading blog post, as well as the photo, was also published on Facebook here and here.

Other blog posts used the same photo alongside a similar claim here, here and here

However, the claim is false. 

AFP found the photo has circulated in news reports about an earlier traffic accident in Indonesia on June 11, 2021; the blog posts also include details from another car crash on August 17, 2021.

Accident in Sumatra

A reverse-image search on Google found the photo published in this report by Indonesian news outlet iNews on June 12, 2021.

The report states the accident involving three cars and two motorcycles took place in West Bangka regency, on Bangka-Belitung Islands, a province off the east coast of Indonesia's Sumatra Island.

Part of the report reads: "A multiple-vehicle collision occurred on Pangkalpinang-Muntok Road, West Bangka regency, involving three cars and two motorbikes. In this incident, the victims only suffered minor injuries.

"The accident in Dendang village, Kelapa district, happened on Friday afternoon, June 11, 2021."

The photo in the report was taken by an iNews journalist and has a caption that reads: "The car and motorcycles involved in the multiple-vehicle collision in West Bangka."

Below is a screenshot comparison of the photo in the misleading posts (L) and the photo in the iNews report (R):

Screenshot comparison of the photo in the misleading post (L) and the genuine photo in the iNews report (R)

The accident was also reported by other local media here and here, with photos that match the picture in the iNews article. 

Accident in Yogyakarta 

Meanwhile, the details of the accident in the misleading blog posts actually correlate to a deadly car crash in Yogyakarta, a province on Indonesia's Java Island, on August 17, 2021.

Text from the blog posts partially match a news report published by regional outlet Baca Jogja on the same day. 

Translated to English, the genuine news report's headline reads: "One Dies in an Accident Involving Two Motorcycles and One Car in Godean, Sleman."

Godean is a district located in Sleman regency, in the northern part of Yogyakarta province.

The report also states the accident took place in front of the Mitra iron shop, and includes other details mentioned in the misleading blog posts, such as the make of the vehicles involved and comments from the same local police inspector.

The accident in Sleman was also reported by iNews on the same day here

Neither accidents in West Bangka nor Sleman happened during Eid al-Fitr holidays, which fell in mid-May in 2021.