May 19, 2024, 4:32 PM

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Pres. Raeisi helicopter crash site found: IRCS

Pres. Raeisi helicopter crash site found: IRCS

TEHRAN, May 20 (MNA) – A helicopter carrying President Ebrahim Raeisi and foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian went missing in a dense forest area in East Azarbaijan Sunday, while bad weather conditions are hampering search and rescue efforts.

Media reports say an incident took place for one of the 3 helicopters carrying the Iranian President' and his accompanying convoy on the visit to East Azarbaijan Province in northwest Iran on Sunday.

President Raeisi was returning from a ceremony to inaugurate a dam on the Aras River with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev.

Mehr reporter's follow-up on the news indicate that a few minutes ago, the helicopter carrying the president and foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian crashed in the foggy weather in the northern region of East Azarbaijan.

The president and his convoy were traveling the distance between Khodaafarin and Tabriz but their helicopter crashed in bad weather conditions in the Dizmar forest and mountainous district between Uzi and Pir Dawood villages.

The bad weather conditions including heavy fog and rain are to blame for the helicopter crash. 

There have been not confirmed reports on fate of the occupants on the helicopter in the incident yet.

The search and rescue team are approaching the site of the helicopter crashe, according to the latest reports.

Some local media at first reported that the chopper had made a hard landing due to the bad weather conditions.

Site of the helicopter found:

Pir Hossein Kolivand, the head of the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) has told national TV that the site of the helicopter carrying President Raeisi and his entourage has been found.

The detected site is said to be in the south of the Tavil village.

People praying for President, his entourage:

Lots of Iranian across the country have spent the night in mosques and holy places to pray for the president and his entourage.

Turkish drone detects possible crash site:

A Turkish drone identified a source of heat suspected to be the helicopter's wreckage and had shared the coordinates of the possible crash site with Iranian authorities, Anadolu news agency said on X.

Meanwhile, Iranian Red Crescent National Emergency Management Headquarters announced in a statement that "According to the identification of 2 hot spots by a Turkish drone in Tavill village, Red Crescent rescue teams are moving towards the possible landing site of the helicopter carrying the president and his companions."

"Currently, 73 rescue teams are present in the search area for the helicopter in Tavil village, inculding 23 are Red Crescent teams with sniffer dogs that have been despatched to the incident area from Tehran and neighboring provinces with advanced and specialized equipment," the Red Crecent National Emergency Management Headquarters added.

"The weather conditions in the area are foggy and rainy, and the search operation has been continued by the rescue teams despite the difficult conditions and reduced visibility in the area, as well as environmental hazards," added the statement.

Iraqi Kurdistan head wishes well for President Raeisi and his entourage:

Nichervan Barzani, President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, issued a message in response to the crash of the helicopter carrying Ayatollah Ebrahim Raeisi, the President of Iran, Hossein Amir Abdullahian, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and their accompanying delegation.

In the message, the President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq expressed his concern about the well-being of Iranian president and prayed for his safe return.

Iran foreign ministry:

Iran’s Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, expressed “sincere” gratitude towards the countries and international organizations that had either expressed solidarity with the Islamic Republic or offered to provide assistance following the incident.

"Despite the adverse weather and environmental conditions, the efforts to reach the rescue teams to the insident site continue with seiousness and hope," the Iranian foreign ministry said in a statement tonight.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran expresses gratitude for sharing feelings and solidarity of a large number of governments and nations and international organizations with the government and people of Iran and offerinf of help and assistance to this search and rescue operation," the ministry added.

Russia to send two advanced planes, helicopters to Iran:

Igor Levitin, Aide to Russian president called first Iranian vice president Mohammad Mokhber Sun., saying that two advanced planes and special helicopters will be sent to Iran to search for President Raeisi and his entourage.

"In line with the order of the President of Russia, two advanced airplanes with special helicopters will be sent to Tabriz with 50 professional mountain rescuers within an hour," Levitin told Mokhber in his second call on Sunday.

He added that "On Monday morning, two Russian helicopters will leave for Tabriz from Armenia."

"The Russian government and Mr. Putin are concerned about the safety of Dr. Raeisi and his accompanying team and express their greetings, respect and sincere sympathy with the leadership and the great nation of Iran at this time," the Russian official also said.

IRGC chief cmdr. travels to site of incident:

The chief commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has traveled to the site of an incident involving the helicopter carrying President Ebrahim Raeisi in the northwestern province of East Azarbaijan, Press TV reported.

Major General Hossein Salami made the trip on Sunday after the aircraft that was transporting the chief executive and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian alongside others encountered some difficulties and was forced to make a "hard landing" in the province’s city of Jolfa.

Islamic Jihad:

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement expressed concern over “the news of the incident that affected the helicopter.”

“In light of this painful incident, we express our full solidarity with our brothers in the Islamic Republic of Iran, its people, leadership, and government,” Jihad said.

“We ask Allah Almighty to grant safety and well-being to the President and his aides, and to crown the search efforts for them with good news.”


The Palestinian Islamic resistance movement Hamas said that they are “following with great interest and concern the news about the emergency landing of the helicopter carrying” President Raeisi, and FM Amir-Abdollahian, and their accompanying delegation in northwest Iran.  

“In this painful incident, we express our complete solidarity with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the leadership, government, and people, and we ask Allah Almighty for protection and peace for the Iranian President and his accompanying delegation, and to keep the brotherly Iranian people away from all harm and evil.”

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said in a statement that they are “following with great concern and interest the tragic incident.”

“The Front affirms its solidarity with the Iranian people and expresses its full support for the Islamic Republic of Iran—its leadership, government, and people. We stand by the Iranian people and their government, hoping that the efforts to find President Raeisi and his companions will be successful and that they return safely.”

Syria foreign ministry:

Syria's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates expressed Damascus's full solidarity with Iran and prayed for the well-being of President Raeisi and his accompanying team.

In a statement, the ministry said Syria is following with great interest and concern reports about the incident and the ongoing research operation.

The ministry affirmed its confidence in the ability and wisdom of Iranian officials and people to overcome this difficult circumstance and its readiness to provide any possible assistance.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guteress:

"The Secretary-General is following reports of an incident with Iranian President Raisi's aircraft with concern. He hopes for the safety of the president and his entourage," a UN spokesperson said in a statement.

The precise location of the incident identified:

Asghar Abbasgholizadeh, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Eastern Azerbaijan said that his forces detected a signal from the helicopter and the mobile phone of one of the crew at the incident site.

"Right now, we are leaving with all the military forces to the area in question and I hope we will give good news to the people," the commander said. He said that the location is an area of 10 kilometer square. 

Qatar foreign ministry:

We express the State of Qatar's deep concern regarding the Iranian president's helicopter experiencing a difficult landing incident. We affirm the State of Qatar's readiness to provide all forms of support in the search for the Iranian president's aircraft. We express the State of Qatar's wishes for the safety of the Iranian president, the foreign minister and their companions," a ministry spokesperson said in a statement.

Kuwait foreign ministry:

"We are closely following with concern the reports regarding the helicopter carrying the Iranian president and his accompanying delegation. Kuwait expresses its wishes for their safety and its support for the Islamic Republic of Iran in this critical situation."

Saudi Arabia foreign ministry: 

"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia affirms that it stands by the Islamic Republic of Iran during these difficult circumstances and is prepared to provide any assistance the Iranian services need," the ministry said in a statement. It also said the Saudi government was following news reports regarding Raisi's helicopter with "great concern".

Russia offers help to Iran

The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia said in a statement that Russia is ready to help search for the missing helicopter carrying the president of Iran and investigate the cause of this accident.

"Russia is ready to extend all necessary help in the search for the missing helicopter and the investigation of the reasons for the incident," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a comment carried by Russia's RIA news agency, Reuters reported.

Turkey sends search rescue teams:

Turkey is sending night vision search and rescue helicopter and 32 search and rescue mountaineers, and six vehicles, Turkish media cited the Disaster Management Agency as saying in a statement.

EU says Iran asked for help for mapping services:

"Upon Iranian request for assistance we are activating the 🇪🇺's @CopernicusEMS rapid response 📡 mapping service in view of to the helicopter accident reportedly carrying the President of #Iran and its foreign minister," Janez Lenarčič wrote in a post on X.

Meanwhile, President of the European Council Charles Michel reacted to reports about the incident on X, formerly Twitter.

"Following closely reports that the helicopter carrying the Iranian President and the foreign minister has been forced to land unexpectedly and their condition not yet clear," Michel said.

He added, "Together with EU member states and partners, we are monitoring the situation closely."

President Raeisi's helicopter reportedly found by rescue team:

According to Al Alam TV telegram channel , "Minutes ago, the the search and rescue teams sent to the site of the crash could find the copter of the president and his entourage after hours of searching."

However, Iran Red Crescent has rejected the news on finding the copter as false.

Turkish president says ready to provide assistance to Iran:

Turkey closely monitoring regarding helicopter crash, coordinating with Iranian authorities and is ready to provide assistance as needed, Turkish President Recep Teyyep Erdogan said.

Vice President says two people accompanying president made contacts: 

Executive Vice President Mansouri told National TV that half an hour after the departure of the President's helicopter, the communication with the other two helicopters was cut off.

"After this incident, two helicopters searched the area" he also said. 

"Another promising point is that the site of the incident has been identified by the Ministry of Communications within a radius of two kilometers," Mansouri added.

India PM wishes well being for President Raeisi and his entourage: 

"Deeply concerned by reports regarding President Raisi’s helicopter flight today. We stand in solidarity with the Iranian people in this hour of distress, and pray for well being of the President and his entourage," Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India wrote on X.

Leader prays for President Raeisi, other officials:

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei expressed concern over fate of President Ebrahim Raeisi, praying to God that the president and other senior officials would return to the nation safely.

Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution made the remarks in a meeting with the families of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Sunday, which was held on the occasion of the birthday of Imam Reza (a.s.).

Commenting on the news of the crash of the helicopter carrying the Iranian president and other senior officials in northeast of the country, the Leader described the news as a disturbing incident this evening for the honorable president and his companions.

"We pray to God Almighty that the revered president and his companions returned to the arms of the nation. Everyone should pray for the health and safety of this group of servants."

Ayatollah Khamenei further assured the people that, "do not worry, there will be no disruption in the affairs of the country."

Pakistani PM prays for Pres. Raeisi, other high-ranking Iranian officials accompanying him:

Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has sent out a message, whishing health and safety for the Iranian president and his accompanying officials in the helicopter incident.

"Heard the distressing news from Iran regarding Hon. President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi’s helicopter. Waiting with great anxiety for good news that all is well. Our prayers and best wishes are with Hon.President Raisi and the entire Iranian nation," wrote Shehbaz Sharif in a post on his X account.

Meanwhile, in a post on X, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said he was “deeply concerned” about the news of the crash and expressed his wishes for the Iranian president and foreign minister.

“My heartfelt prayers & good wishes for the well-being & safety of President Raeisi so that he may continue to serve the Iranian nation," he posted.

Iraqi PM offers help to Iran amid helicopter crash:

The Iraqi government announced that Baghdad has offered to help Iran search for the missing helicopter carrying Iranian president and other high-ranking officials. Prime Minister of Iraq Mohammed Shia' Al Sudani said in a statement that "We are ready to help find the president's helicopter."

Azeri president offers assistance to Iran:

Azerbaijan is ready to provide assistance regarding helicopter incident involving the President of Iran, the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in post on social media.

"Today, after bidding a friendly farewell to the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, we were profoundly troubled by the news of a helicopter carrying the top delegation crash-landing in Iran. Our prayers to Allah Almighty are with President Ebrahim Raisi and the accompanying delegation. As a neighbor, friend, and brotherly country, the Republic of Azerbaijan stands ready to offer any assistance needed," Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said on X.

The Friday Prayers Imam of Tabriz, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Governor of East Azarbaijan Malek Rahmati were accompanying the president Raeisi. 

The rescue and search team are reported to have faced difficulties in reaching the site of the hard landing of the copter. 

The interior minister Ahmad Vahidi has confirmed to the national TV that one of the copters of the president's convoy had made a hard landing.

"Various rescue groups are moving towards the site, but due to the fog and bad weather, it may take time to reach the area. The work is under control," Vahidi said.

"There have been contacts with [the president's] companions, but given that the area is mountainous and it is difficult to establish contacts, we hope that the rescue teams will reach the site of the incident sooner and give us more information," the interior minister added.

Local Iranian media have reported that it was heavily raining in the area in Varzaghan District and it is hard for the rescue and search teams to walk in the dense fog.

People across the country are praying for President Raeisi and foreign minister Amir-Abdollahian's safety.

This item is being updated...

MNA/6112132; 6112174

News ID 215368


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