Clip of Burning Car Wrongly Shared As Swedish Artist Lars Vilks' Death

The video shows a seven year old multi-vehicle accident on a Russian highway and not cartoonist Lars Vilks' death.

3 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Social media users shared an old, unrelated video as that of Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks' death.</p></div>

A video of a car burning after a collision and a man screaming after being trapped inside is being shared on social media as the video of Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks' death.

Vilks, who was known for his controversial drawings of Prophet Muhammad, died in a high-speed car crash along with two police officers, who were assigned to him for his protection on 3 October, 2021.

But we found that the video being shared does not show Lars Vilks' death, but is a clip of a multi-vehicle accident in on the Izhevsk-Mozgha Highway Udmurtia, Russia, in September 2014.



The video showing smoke billowing from a partially damaged car, with the passenger screaming from inside it is being shared to claim that it was Lars Vilks' car and that he died screaming inside his burning vehicle. Some versions of the claim celebrate his death.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>An archived version of this post can be seen <a href="">here</a>.</p></div>

An archived version of this post can be seen here.

(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

More such claims on Facebook and Twitter can be seen here, here and here.


Using InVID, we divided the viral video into keyframes and ran reverse image searches on some of them. On Yandex, the results led us to video uploaded to a YouTube channel 'Xierch' called in 2014, whose translated title reads 'Road Accident: Izhevsk - Mozgha [18+]".

Its description noted that the accident took place on 21 September, 2014 and that the person trapped in the vehicle was 26-years-old.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>The video is seven years old.</p></div>

The video is seven years old.

(Source: YouTube/Altered by The Quint)

Using Russian keywords such as 'Izhevsk accident man burning' (ижевская авария человек горит), we found news reports in Russian that carried the video as well as stills from the horrific accident.

Russian broadcaster Ren TV aired a video report of the accident, where it showed the same visuals as the claim. The man could be heard screaming as people around him rushed to get fire extinguishers for his car, before eventually tugging it free. The report also showed other damaged vehicles.

Fontanka, an online Russian news outlet, also published a report on the incident and carried a still from the video.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Fontanka noted that 9 vehicles were involved in the accident.</p></div>

Fontanka noted that 9 vehicles were involved in the accident.

(Photo: Fontanka/Screenshot)


As per this report, the accident took place as nine cars collided on a highway in Udmurtia, Russia around 3 PM on 21 September, 2014. The accident occurred as a truck drove into the car seen in the video, lodging the vehicle under it.

After the collision, the truck caught fire which was quickly put out, but it had already caught on to the car, whose driver was trapped and had was unable to get to safety.

Next, we looked up Lars Vilks' death. We came across a video of the accident that claimed Vilks' life - along with two police personnel assigned to him for his safety - which was uploaded to Twitter by Turkish news media website, En Son Haber.

Bloomberg Quint reported that Vilks' car collided head-first with an oncoming truck on 3 October, which set the car ablaze and killed all its occupants, while the truck driver was rushed to a hospital.

Clearly, an old video of an accident on a Russian highway is being wrongly shared as that of Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks' death.

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