Italian artist's photo falsely linked to helicopter crash in India

  • This article is more than one year old.
  • Published on October 27, 2022 at 08:19
  • Updated on October 27, 2022 at 09:20
  • 3 min read
  • By Anuradha PRASAD, AFP India
An image has been shared repeatedly in false posts on Facebook and Twitter that claim it shows a helicopter crash in the Indian pilgrimage town of Kedarnath that killed seven people. In fact, the image was created by Italian visual artist Giorgio Calderato from a stock photo of a helicopter.

The image was shared here on Twitter by a member of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on October 18, 2022.

It appears to show an airborne helicopter engulfed in fire.

The caption reads, “Kedarnath incident has distressed my heart. May god rest their souls in peace, (my) sympathies with the families.”

A screenshot of the misleading post, captured on October 20, 2022

The image was shared after seven people were killed when a helicopter bringing Hindu pilgrims back from a shrine high in the Indian Himalayas crashed in the mountains on October 18, 2022.

The pilot and all six pilgrims on board died when the helicopter came down during the flight from Kedarnath temple, disaster response official Nandan Singh Rajwar told AFP from the crash site.

The image was also shared by several Indian ruling party politicians here, here, here and here on Twitter.

Other users also shared it on Facebook alongside a similar false claim here, here and here.

A reverse image search found the image on stock image websites iStock and Dreamtime here and here respectively.

A screenshot of the iStock image taken on October 25, 2022

The image on the iStock website, credited to "giocalde", was uploaded on March 24, 2015.

It is titled, "Ground view looking up at a helicopter exploding mid-air stock photo".

A further search found an earlier version of the image taken on September 9, 2012 that was published here by Alamy.

Below is a screenshot of the photo, which does not show the helicopter engulfed by flames:

Screenshot of the image on Alamy website, which does not show the helicopter engulfed by flames

The image is credited to "Giorgio Calderato".

The description states, "09/09/2012 Valdagno (Italy) aerial photographic surveys with helicopter. Amprion GmbH is an important transmission system operator in Europe and operates a german extra-high voltage grid with a length of 11.000 km".

The same image was posted on Shutterstock here credited to “giocalde” -- short for Giorgio Calderato.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the image in the false posts (left), the same image found on iStock (centre) and the undamaged chopper's image on Alamy (right):

Comparison of the image in the false posts (left), the same image found on iStock (centre) and the undamaged chopper's image on Alamy (right)

According to Calderato’s Shutterstock profile, he is an Italian visual artist and videographer.

Calderato told AFP: “I confirm that the photo of the exploding helicopter is not real, it was created by me with Photoshop."


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