Search Underway After Helicopter Carrying Iranian President Raisi Crashes

World | May 19, 2024, Sunday // 19:44|  views

Search operations are ongoing after a helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi experienced a “hard landing,” according to Iran's state television. The interior minister reported that rescue teams are facing challenges due to poor weather in East Azerbaijan province, where the incident occurred.

Iranian state media reported the crash happened near Jolfa in East Azerbaijan province on Sunday. The semi-official Fars news agency called on Iranians to pray for Raisi, with state TV airing prayers for his safety.

Raisi was returning from Azerbaijan, where he had inaugurated a dam with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, when the incident took place. The president’s convoy included three helicopters, and the other two returned safely.

State media reported that Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, East Azerbaijan Governor Malek Rahmati, and Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Ale-Hashem were also in the helicopter with Raisi. Energy Minister Ali Akbar Mehrabian and Housing and Transportation Minister Mehrdad Bazrpash were in the other helicopters.

According to the Tasnim News Agency, an emergency call was made by those in the helicopter, raising hopes that the incident might not result in fatalities. The cause of the “hard landing” and the condition of the passengers remain unclear.

Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi told state television that rescue teams are trying to reach the crash site despite fog and bad weather. He confirmed that radio contact had been made with the helicopter but provided no further details.

Major-General Mohammad Bagheri, the Iranian military chief, stated that all available resources from the army, army corps, and police command should be used in the search and rescue efforts. Al Jazeera's Resul Serdar, reporting from Tehran, noted that the Iranian Red Crescent deployed 40 teams to the crash region.

The crash site is believed to be in the Dizmar Protected Area, a mountainous and forested zone. The type of helicopter involved is unknown, but Iran's fleet is mostly outdated due to decades of sanctions.

The US State Department is closely monitoring the situation but has no further comments at this time. Charles Michel, president of the European Council, also stated on social media that he is closely following the developments.

Political analyst Abas Aslani, speaking from Tehran, mentioned that there is a sense of uncertainty in the capital as everyone awaits more information on the incident.

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Tags: Iran, president, search, Raisi

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