2019 Mirage Jet Crash Photos Viral As Rafale Crash During Training

BOOM found that the viral images are from February 2019 when a Mirage 2000 jet crashed during training in Bengaluru.

Photos from 2019 when a Mirage aircraft crashed in Bengaluru are being shared with the false claim that a Rafale jet crashed in Ambala during training. The photos are viral with a screenshot of a morphed tweet falsely claiming the information was tweeted by the official handle of the Indian Air Force.

BOOM found out that the viral images are from February 2019 when a Mirage 2000 jet crashed in Bengaluru and that the screenshot of the tweet being shared is morphed and the official Twitter handle of the IAF never tweeted such an update.

The fake claim is viral days after India inducted five Rafale jets to the Indian Air Force's 17 Squadron 'Golden Arrows' at the IAF's Ambala base. The aircrafts were inducted in the presence of Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria and French Minister of Armed Forces Florence Parly.

The posts are viral on Twitter and Facebook with a set of four images - One image showing a Rafale jet while three of the aftermath of a plane crash. The images are being shared with the caption: Breaking news: one Rafale jet crash during training. 2 pilots dead, Modi ji When you can't fly it, why did you buy it? (Original text Modi jee jb chala nh skte tou khareeday kio?)

The archive of the tweet can be accessed here.

The archive of the post can be accessed here.


Some of the viral posts also had a screenshot claiming to be from the official handle of the Indian Air Force. The morphed tweet dated September 4, 2020 reads, "Very shocked news! During exercise, Rafale has crashed near Ambala Airforce Station due to technical fault and a pilot martyred."

The archive of the tweet can be accessed here.

The same morphed screenshot is viral on Facebook.


The archive of the post can be accessed here.

Fact Check

BOOM found that the posts use photos from 2019 when a Mirage 2000 jet crashed in Bengaluru and a fake and morphed screenshot of the official IAF Twitter handle is being used to add authenticity to the false claim.

Pictures One and Two


Picture One


Picture Two

BOOM reverse searched for picture two and found this Twitter thread from journalist Darshan Devaiah B P who documented the aftermath of the crash.


The second image in the viral post was shared by Devaiah in this tweet.

While scrolling through the Twitter thread, BOOM found this video of the jet's smoking engine.

Below is a screenshot comparison of picture one in the viral post (L) and a screenshot from the video (R).


Picture Three


A Google reverse image search led us to this article on the crash by Manorama Online. The article credited the image to Reuters. We then searched the Reuters Images archive for photos from the crash and found the original image.

Below is a screenshot comparison of Picture Three in the viral post (L) and the Reuters photo (R).




IAF Tweet Screenshot

BOOM checked the Indian Air Force's Twitter account, @IAF_MCC for any tweets about a reported crash involving a Rafale jet on September 4 but did not find any such update or tweet.

We also ran a Twitter advanced search using the IAF's Twitter handle and failed to find any replies to any such deleted tweet by the account on the mentioned date and time -- 11.33 pm on September 4, 2020, in the viral screenshot. We further searched for news about an Indian Air Force Rafale jet crashing but did not find any news articles about such a crash.

We then contacted a spokesperson of the Indian Air Force who directed us to a tweet by the Press Information Bureau's fact checking unit who had debunked the same fake claim. You can view the PIB tweet here.

Claim :   Images show the aftermath of an Indian Air Force Rafale jet crash which killed two pilots.
Claimed By :  Posts on Facebook and Twitter
Fact Check :  False
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