A Yeti Airlines flight from Kathmandu crashed before landing in the tourist city of Pokhara on January 15, killing 72 people aboard including 68 passengers and four crew members. Following the jet accident, social media users circulated old photographs and videos claiming to show the plane crash.
Rescuers have so far recovered 71 bodies from the crash site, with one still missing as of February 1, 2023.
TikTok user @kiranstha178 posted a video clip of a child covered in fake blood riding a wheelchair on January 17, 2023. The post, which purports to show survivors of the Yeti Airlines crash in Pokhara, also includes a clip of another plane crash. A popular Nepali song with the lyrics “love is a bond that cannot be broken even if one dies” has been superimposed on the video. The post has been viewed over 13000 times.
On January 17, 2023, another TikTok user, @krlkbrhrdvrv, also shared the video. The video included a watermark from another user, @jasmineryan09, who appears to be the original uploader. After a close examination of the video, Nepal Check surmised that it was filmed in The Philippines during Halloween. The photos from the video were also posted on Reddit, a social news aggregation and conversation site.
Nepal Check requested Vera Files, a leading fact-checking outlet in The Philippines, for assistance in determining the origin of the viral video.
After TikTok removed the viral video, most likely due to a violation of community standards, we looked at @jasminryan09’s other posts on TikTok and Facebook. The caption of the post, “halloween costume trick or treat,” gave us keywords to search. Further searches on Facebook and TikTok for “Halloween,” “costume,” “Philippines,” “children,” “kids,” “blood,” “dugo” (blood in Filipino language), and “trick or treat” did not yield the video.
We found another video of the event on @jasminryan09’s TikTok account. The video showed the same child in the same situation. The video was posted on November 6, 2022, around Halloween time, with the song “Left and Right” playing in the background. The song was released in June 2022, implying that the video was most likely shot around Halloween that year. The widely shared video depicts two children covered in a red substance that resembles blood. One child is seated in a wheelchair, while another is lying on a stretcher in the video.
The Filipino word “pasakay,” which means “May I ride?” can be heard in the video’s conversion between two men, according to Vera Files. Additionally, jeepneys, which are common in the Philippines, can be seen briefly in the video, indicating that it was shot in the Philippines. We found @jasminryan09 was from Valenzuela City, near Manila in the Philippines.
Nepal Check geolocated the video based on these evidences and clues.
The video was most likely shot in Valenzuela City. It was first posted on October 31, 2022. We geolocated the second video, which was still available on TikTok. We recognised a mobile phone trading shop, a flyover, a building with metal grills, electric wires and rectangular shaped flower pots.
We took several keyframes of video to analyze it, and zoomed in on the image to see what was written on the back. When we flipped the image over, it said “Cellphone Trading,” though the word “trading” was barely legible.
On Google Maps, we searched for cell phone trading shops in the Valenzuela City area, looking for one with similar structural surroundings to the one in the video. Near Caloocan Metro Manila, a shop called “Jerio Cellphone Trading” with similar surroundings appeared on the map. A closer examination of the buildings, flyover, flowerpots, and electric wires confirmed the scenes from the video.
The signboard with “Cellphone Trading” couldn’t be found on Google Street View Map, which was recorded in May 2022. The video,on the other hand, was filmed around the time of Halloween, which is observed on October 31st. The signboard may have been removed when Google captured the area’s street view. A 2019 street view, however, shows the signboard.
Our investigation, which included both human intelligence and open source tools, led us to the conclusion that the video was shot in Metro Manila of The Philippines, and is falsely linked to the recent plane crash in Nepal.
|Claim||Claimed by||Nepal Check|
|A video shows survivors of Yeti Airlines’ plane crash on January 15 in Pokhara.||TikTok users||False|
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