Claim: A viral video shows night vision helicopters deployed by Turkey in search of Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi.

Fact: The post is misleading. The video is actually from 2012 and portrays a US military drill.

On 20 May 2024, a verified account with the name Sulaiman Ahmad posted a video on X (formerly Twitter) with the caption, “BREAKING: Turkey deploys night helicopters in search for Iranian Iranian President Raisi”.

Ebrahim Raisi Death:

The video was shared soon after Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, along with six other top officials, and flight crew were killed in a helicopter crash near the country’s Azerbaijan border on Sunday, 19 May 2024. The wreckage was found early on Monday after an overnight search in poor weather conditions.

Fact or Fiction?

To investigate, Soch Fact Check conducted a reverse image search on the keyframes of the viral video. The results on Google Lens led to a video on the official website of the United States Marine Corps uploaded on 13 April 2012. The video titled, “MEDEVAC Night Flight and Hoist Training” is a longer version of the viral video.

According to its description, the footage is of a drill undertaken by the US Army to simulate “some of the worst night conditions they may face while rescuing injured soldiers.” Describing the rescue technique deployed during the exercise, it further adds that, “hoist extractions are most often used when obstacles such as tall trees, buildings, or rugged terrain prevent helicopters from landing.”

A similar version of the clip, showing the same “82nd Combat Aviation Brigade MEDEVAC helicopter team practising manoeuvres on a moonless night” was also posted on YouTube by Aiirsource Military on 20 March 2013.

To investigate the claim further, Soch Fact Check then searched for the keywords, “Turkey night helicopters operation Iran president crash”. The results led to media reports by CNN and JPost stating that Turkey’s Defence Ministry would send drones and a helicopter carrying night-vision equipment to Iran to help locate the regime’s leader. Although Turkey did help in locating the wreckage of the helicopter by using the Turkish Akinci drone, we can confirm that the video in the viral claim does not show the same Turkish search operation.


On X the viral video received 559.3K views, 2,700 likes and 532 reposts. It can be seen here and here.

The misleading claim was also shared here, here and here on Facebook.

Conclusion: A video claiming to show Turkey’s night vision search operation is in fact from 2012, and shows a US Army training exercise. It is entirely unrelated to Turkey’s recent search operation for the Iranian president’s helicopter.



Background image in cover photo: Doha News


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