Back to Africa Check

No, viral video doesn’t show Kenyan mountaineer Cheruiyot Kirui’s body being retrieved from Mount Everest

IN SHORT: Kenyan mountaineer Cheruiyot Kirui died while attempting to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. However, a video circulating on social media does not show his body being recovered.

A video showing a helicopter helping a climber off an icy mountain is making the rounds on Facebook. The climber, who appears motionless, is tied to a rope attached to the flying helicopter. He is lowered and received by unidentified people.

Users who posted it claimed that it showed the body of Kenyan mountaineer Cheruiyot Kirui being retrieved from Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain. It is located on the border between Nepal and China.

Kirui and his Nepalese guide went missing while trying to summit Mount Everest in May 2024. He was later found dead, but the fate of his guide remains unknown.

So does the video show Kirui’s body being retrieved? We checked.

Nothing but the facts

Get a weekly dose of facts delivered straight to your inbox.

EverestKenya_False

Video from 2023

We used the InVID search tool to extract keyframes from the video for a reverse image search. The search revealed that the video had been online since 21 May 2023, almost a year before Kirui’s death. 

It was posted by a verified Instagram account belonging to a tour operator. The video was captioned: “Long line Rescue in Everest.” The Instagram post does not give any details about the climber and his fate.

The account credited the video to Suman Gurung, who describes himself as a high-altitude photographer and cinematographer. Gurung confirmed to AFP Fact Check that he took the footage in 2023.

Kirui’s family has reportedly confirmed that his body will remain on the mountain, citing risks to the rescue team.

According to US news agency CNN, over 300 people are known to have died on the mountain. Many of the bodies remain uncollected as the process of recovering them is costly and dangerous due to the harsh weather conditions.

Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on africacheck.org.

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.