Video shows skiers who survived avalanche in Russia, not India’s Gulmarg

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A video of an avalanche has been viewed thousands of times in posts that falsely claim it shows an accident in the Indian ski resort of Gulmarg in which two Polish tourists died after being trapped by snow on February 1, 2023. The video -- which features two skiers speaking Russian -- has circulated in reports since December 2022 about an avalanche in Russia’s Sheregesh resort.

The one-minute 14-second footage shows a first-person perspective of an avalanche.

"Gulmarg avalanche that killed 2 Polish skiers #Kashmir," says the caption alongside a video shared here on Facebook on February 2, 2023.

It has been viewed more than 10,000 times.

Screenshot of the misleading video captured on February 3, 2023

The video circulated online after two Polish nationals were killed and 21 other skiers were rescued from the site of an avalanche that hit the resort of Gulmarg in Indian-administered Kashmir on February 1, 2023, AFP reported.

The video was also shared alongside a similar claim on Facebook here and here; and on Twitter by a Kashmir-based news outlet here and in a Portuguese-language post here.

The claim, however, has circulated in reports since December 2022 about an avalanche in Russia.

Russian avalanche

A combination of reverse image searches and Google searches found a report about the footage by the Russian tabloid Life published on December 22, 2022.

According to the report, the video shows an avalanche that two skiers survived at the Sheregesh resort in Russia's Kemerovo region. It names one of the two skiers as Sergey Filippov, who it also credits for the footage.

The report cites this extended, high-definition YouTube video of the avalanche published on December 20, 2022 by a user with the handle @filippovsergey255.

The video's Russian-language caption translates to English as: "My first and almost last Sheregesh. (Avalanche 20.12.22)."

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video in the false posts (left) and the earlier YouTube video (right):

Screenshot comparison of the video in the false posts (left) and the video posted by Sergei Lavina on YouTube (right)

In the video in the false posts, one skier can be heard saying in Russian as the avalanche approaches: "Look, look... it's coming... we are standing here..."

After the avalanche hits, the man seen on camera can be heard telling another man buried under the snow: "Breathe! Breathe! Come on."

He then asks the buried man: "Are you alive? Have you injured anything?"

The man under the snow replies "I got scared!" to which the first skier responds: "Hold on, man."

The buried man then says: "It's not funny at all."

The same footage was also published widely in reports around the world, including this tweet by Australian broadcaster 9News Australia on December 24, 2022.

The caption reads: “The terrifying moment a skier is engulfed by a wall of snow at a ski resort in Russia has surfaced.

“The man's go-pro captured the avalanche as it buries him alive, luckily leaving him close to the surface so his friend could pull him out.”