Challenging India’s news narrative of a Chinese plane crash using OSINT and geolocation

Google Earth was used for geolocating a plane crash, which was claimed to have been the result of Taiwan shooting it down.

Finding the location from those two pictures

This was the tricky part. I foolishly decided to start my search in Taiwan, the area that I was most skeptical about. Not only did I already have my doubts about the plane crashing on the island, but I didn’t know about race tracks in Taiwan.

This “first pass” is more about getting individual points on the map to verify individually later than it is proving them from the start. The goal was to get as much data down as possible to complete a trustworthy analysis.
Formatting the data nicely gave me a set of clearer data, which helped attempts to rule this location out (confirmation bias is no joke)


The next stage was where things really kicked off. A number of other Twitter users had started posting images and grid references matching my location and were posting the same analysis, which was good to see as it was independent corroboration of my results.

Yellow line indicates line of sight to the hill, which was seen over the damaged building, sitting to the left of the pylon from the camera’s perspective.

Additional analysis

The geolocation itself was just the first step to achieve a good overall picture on what was being reported. It was crucial to determining the likelihood of Taiwan shooting down the plane.


Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence wrote: “In response to rumors online that claim a Chinese Su-35 fighter jet had been shot down by Taiwan air defense systems, #ROCAirForce would like to categorically state this is fake news.”

Link to Google Earth analysis



OSINT Consultant and giant big huge nerd

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