Iranian President’s Helicopter Involved in ‘Accident’, Search Underway: State Media

Sun May 19 2024
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TEHRAN: A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was involved in “an accident” on Sunday amid poor weather conditions, state media reported, with a search underway and there has been no update on the condition of President Raisi or other officials aboard.

The incident occurred in the Jofa region of the western province of East Azerbaijan, state television confirmed. “An accident happened to the helicopter carrying the president” in the Jofa region of the western province of East Azerbaijan, state television said.

Rescue teams were immediately dispatched to locate the helicopter and its passengers. Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was also reportedly on board the helicopter.

Challenging weather conditions, including heavy fog, have hampered rescue operations, complicating efforts to reach the accident site in the mountainous forest area of Dizmar near the town of Varzaghan, the official IRNA news agency reported.

President Raisi, 63, was visiting the province on Sunday to inaugurate a dam project in collaboration with his Azeri counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, along the border between Iran and Azerbaijan. His convoy comprised three helicopters, with reports indicating that the other two helicopters reached their destination safely, according to Tasnim news agency.

It was confirmed by IRNA that the foreign minister and local officials were traveling in the same helicopter as President Raisi. While initial reports suggested a crash, later statements from Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi indicated that the helicopter had made a hard landing due to adverse weather conditions.

However, communication with the aircraft has proven difficult, further complicating rescue efforts and adding to the uncertainty surrounding the situation.

President Raisi, who assumed office in June 2021, has a long-standing career in Iran’s judiciary, serving in various capacities including Tehran’s prosecutor-general and national prosecutor-general. Born in 1960 in Mashhad, northeast Iran, he has been a prominent figure in Iranian politics for decades.

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