FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show Indian Military Helicopters Patrolling Over A Lake In Ladakh?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook purportedly shows Indian Air Force helicopters flying above Pangong Lake in the Indian-controlled territory of Ladakh in Kashmir.

Verdict: False

The video shows U.S. military helicopters over Lake Havasu in the southwestern U.S.

Fact Check:

Ladakh has been the subject of territorial disputes between India, China and Pakistan for decades, according to The New York Times. 20 Indian soldiers died in a confrontation with Chinese forces in the mountainous region in June, the Washington Post reported.

The video being shared shows military helicopters flying low over a body of water flanked by rocky hills. The post identifies the body of water as Pangong Lake and the helicopters as belonging to the Indian Air Force. Pangong Lake is currently divided between Indian and Chinese-controlled territory, according to Forbes.

“IAF attack helicopters Apache patrolling over Pangong Tso lake in Ladakh recently,” the caption reads. (RELATED: Does This Photo Show A ‘Fight To Win’ Banner China Put Up In Ladakh?)

But, contrary to the post’s claim, the video actually shows U.S. military helicopters flying above Lake Havasu, which is situated on the border between Arizona and California, according to India Today. U.S. military pilots and veterans posted the video on Instagram with captions identifying the location as Lake Havasu, and the Google Maps street view of the lake shows similar hills in the background to those in the video being shared.

The Lake Havasu City Convention Center and Visitors Bureau appeared to respond to rumors about the footage in early July, posting India Today’s article debunking the claim that it shows Pangong Lake on Facebook.

“Lake Havasu finds its way into the news in the oddest ways sometimes,” the bureau wrote in the Facebook post. “Thank you to India Today’s Anti Fake News War Room for debunking this story.”

A spokesperson for the Lake Havasu City Convention Center and Visitors Bureau also confirmed that the video was filmed on Lake Havasu in an email to AFP Fact Check, adding, “Our airport has a fueling contract with the US military, so we see these types of aircraft from time to time.”

In the comments section of the bureau’s Facebook post, a user named Daniel Warner claimed that he filmed the footage on June 17, 2018, sharing two additional video clips of the helicopters flying above Lake Havasu.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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