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Search and Rescue Operation Underway as Helicopter Carrying Iran’s President Crashes

ebrahim raisi
Source: MEGA

A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi crashed on Sunday as it was crossing a mountainous forest region in heavy fog.

May 19 2024, Published 1:30 p.m. ET

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A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian crashed on Sunday as it was crossing a mountainous forest region in heavy fog, RadarOnline.com has learned.

An Iranian official told Reuters that their lives are "at risk following the helicopter crash," which occurred on the way back from a visit to Iran's border with Azerbaijan. "We are still hopeful but information coming from the crash site is very concerning."

State news agency IRNA reported that a large search and rescue operation involving 16 teams is reportedly underway, but poor weather conditions have made it difficult for rescuers to locate and reach the crash site.

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ebrahim raisi
Source: MEGA

A large search and rescue operation involving 16 teams is reportedly underway.

"The esteemed president and company were on their way back aboard some helicopters and one of the helicopters was forced to make a hard landing due to the bad weather and fog," Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said in comments aired on Iran's state TV.

"Various rescue teams are on their way to the region but because of the poor weather and fogginess it might take time for them to reach the helicopter," he added.

"The region is a bit [rugged] and it’s difficult to make contact. We are waiting for rescue teams to reach the landing site and give us more information."

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ebrahim raisi
Source: MEGA

The Iranian president had traveled to the border of Azerbaijan early on Sunday to inaugurate a dam with Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev.

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In addition to the president and the foreign minister, the governor of the province was also in the helicopter. They had reportedly been traveling with a delegation of ministers in a convoy of three helicopters, and the other two aircraft reached their destinations without incident.

The Iranian president had traveled to the border of Azerbaijan early on Sunday to inaugurate a dam with Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev. The cause of the crash and the status of those aboard remains unknown.

Raisi, 63, is a hardliner who some have seen as a possible successor for 85-year-old Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Since taking office in 2021, the country has cracked down on anti-government protests, intensified uranium enrichment, supported Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and launched a missile and drone attack on Israel.

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ebrahim raisi
Source: MEGA

Raisi, 63, is a hardliner who some have seen as a possible successor for 85-year-old Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

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The U.S. State Department told the Associated Press that it was “closely following reports of a possible hard landing of a helicopter in Iran carrying the Iranian president and foreign minister.”

It added, “We have no further comment at this time.”

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