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

An image has been repeatedly shared in fake Facebook and Twitter posts 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 has been 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, “The incident at Kedarnath shook my heart. May God rest their souls in peace, (my) sympathies to the families.

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

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

The pilot and the six pilgrims on board died when the helicopter crashed during the flight from the Kedarnath temple, Nandan Singh Rajwar, head of disaster response, told AFP from the website. ‘accident.

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 with a similar misrepresentation here, here and here.

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

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

The image on the iStock site, credited to “giocalde”, was uploaded on March 24, 2015.

It is titled “View from the ground looking at a helicopter exploding in the air”.

Further research found an earlier version of the image taken on September 9, 2012 which was posted here by Alamy.

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

Screenshot of image on the Alamy site, which does not show the helicopter engulfed in flames

The image is attributed to “Giorgio Calderato”.

The description reads, “09/09/2012 Valdagno (Italy) aerial photographic surveys with helicopter. Amprion GmbH is a major transmission network operator in Europe and operates a German extra high voltage network with a length of 11,000 km” .

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

Below is a screenshot comparison of the image in the fake posts (left), the same image found on iStock (center) and the undamaged helicopter image on Alamy (right). ):

Comparison of the image in the fake posts (left), the same image found on iStock (centre) and the undamaged helicopter 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.”

Jack C. Nugent