A 2018 video of a group of skydivers jumping out of a helicopter for a formation jump is being peddled with a false Coronavirus spin, with posts claiming dead bodies of COVID-19 positive patients are being dumped into the ocean given the lack of proper burial facilities in Mexico.
BOOM found that the video is from Moscow, Russia and shows a practice run conducted by a flying school, DZ Aerograd Kolomna. The flying school confirmed to us that the video shows a practice run by skydivers for the Russian National record attempt in formation skydiving.
The 20-second clip showcases several people fall one by one out of an airborne helicopter. The video is being shared saying that the source for the information is Russia Today channel, in a bid to lend it authenticity.
The video is viral on social media with captions claiming that this is the way Mexico disposes off its dead bodies. The caption for this post says, #Mexico_Today Corona's dead bodies are dumped into the sea. Source: Russia Today Channel.' An archive of the post is available here.
Users had posted the video with a similar caption, that these were bodies of patients who died because of coronavirus being thrown into the sea. An archive of the video is available here.
BOOM also received requests on its helpline to verify the video with the same claim, that this is how Mexico is disposing off its COVID-19 fatalities.
BOOM divided the video into several keyframes and conducted a reverse image search on some of them, and found the video to be as old as 2018.
The videos has a similar caption saying those jumping off are paratroopers. One video posted in August 2018 on YouTube said, 'Mi 26 Halo gets rid of paratroopers'.
A handle had posted the same video with the comment that it was an attempt at a world record.
#Russian Mil Mi-26 have Guinness World Record ❤️🚁🏅🎖️❤️— Sukhoi Su-57 Felon 🇷🇺🇮🇳 (@I30mki) April 21, 2020
that is a Helicopter dropping 226 paratroopers from 6500m.
this could be it..... no body would ever break it in near future. pic.twitter.com/Wdg3xyomkv
Following this lead, further research using the keywords related to Mi26, 226 paratroopers in Google led us to find information about an event conducted by a flying school DZ Kolomna Aerograd located in Moscow, Russia.
In an email response to BOOM, Kolomna Aerograd said described the event as an "attempt at a world record to bring together '270 professional athletes in Russia, and some of the best air operators conducting aerial photography." The added, "Jumps were carried out from a height of up to 6,000 meters from 3 Mi-26 monster helicopters - the largest helicopters in the world.'
The website of the flying school, DZ Aerograd Kolomna, had an article about the same event which happened on July 15 2018.
More research on Yandex with the same keywords led us to an account on the Russian social media networking site OK. User Vyacheslav Mishchenko had uploaded the same video with the title 'Аэроград "Коломна" (DZ Aerograd Kolomna) the same flying school which is dated back to 19 December 2018.
The flying school further added, that the video is most likely from the Aerograd Kolomna skydiving centre and shows "a group of skydivers exiting from a Mi26 helicopter as part of a practice jump for a Russian National record attempt in Formation skydiving." They informed that Aerograd Kolomna do host these types of Formation skydiving events on an annual basis, but were not able to tell the exact year when the video was shot. "It is not apparent by looking at the video in which year the footage was shot," the email reply said.
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