Two Unrelated Photos Falsely Shared As Helicopters At Thai Factory Fire

The two photos - one of a US helitanker and one of a Thai aerial exercise, were false shared as scenes at a factory fire

Two photos have been shared hundreds of times on Facebook alongside a claim they show helicopters at the scene of a Thai plastics factory fire in 2021. The claim is misleading: one of the photos actually shows a helitanker during an exercise in the US in 2020. The second photo, which has circulated online since 2016, shows a helicopter exercise staged by the Thai government.

The photos were published here on Facebook on July 5, 2021.

"The Royal Thai Army has chinook, the forest department has a helicopter with a water bucket, why didn't anybody collaborate with them?" the Thai-language post's caption reads.

Chinook refers to a type of military, heavy-lift helicopter.

The images circulated online after an explosion at a plastics factory near the Thai capital Bangkok.

The explosion sent plumes of smoke across the skyline, killing one firefighter and injuring 33 people, AFP reported.

The photos were also shared on Facebook here and here alongside a similar claim.

The images, however, have been shared in a misleading context.

First photo

A reverse image search on Google found the first photo was published in this article by the US-based blog site Fire Aviation on November 19, 2020.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the photo in the misleading post (L) and on the Fire Aviation website (R):

"A CH-47 Chinook Very Large Helitanker (VLHT) with night-flying capability operated by Coulson Aviation is working under an 83-day contract in collaboration with Southern California Edison (SCE) and the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA)," the article reads.

"The Chinook is based at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base in Orange County".

The photo was screenshotted from this footage tweeted by Orange County Fire Authority (OFCA) on November 19, 2020.

The clip shows the Helitanker exercise, coordinated by L.A. County Fire Department and the Orange County Fire Authority (OFCA) to showcase Helitanker's capabilities in fighting fires.




Second photo

Reverse image searches for the second photo found it was previously published in this 2016 report by Thai news site Manager Online

The Thai government staged a demonstration to show how the helicopter was used to extinguish fires in Phitsanulok province, the report says.

"Helicopter owned by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment was used to extinguish wildfire in Nan, using the water from Nan River, in the middle of a campaign to stop burning the forest," the Thai-language article reads.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the photo in the misleading post (L) and on the Manager Online website (R):

Thailand's Forest Department operates under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

The photo was also published in another report about the event by a Thai-language website here.

Updated On: 2021-07-20T13:29:50+05:30
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