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Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister die in helicopter crash in East Azerbaijan province

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, whose chopper crashed on Sunday, was confirmed dead in the tragic incident. The foreign minister, who accompanied him in the helicopter, also did not survive. The report came hours after search operation was held.

Edited By: Anurag Roushan @Candid_Tilaiyan Tehran Updated on: May 20, 2024 11:21 IST
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi dies in helicopter crash
Image Source : AP/FILE Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was 64 years old.

In a tragic incident, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian died when their helicopter crashed as it was crossing mountain terrain in heavy fog, Reuters reported citing Iranian official on Monday. According to Iranian state news channel IRINN and semi-official news agency Mehr News, no one survived the crash which was initially described in the reports a day ago as 'hard landing'.

Earlier, reports emerged that the President's chopper was found after the search operation, and Raisi was feared dead. "President Raisi's helicopter was completely burned in the crash... unfortunately, all passengers are feared dead," the official told news agency Reuters earlier.

Rescue teams fought blizzards and difficult terrain through the night to reach the wreckage in East Azerbaijan province in the early hours of Monday (May 20). “We can see the wreckage and the situation does not look good,” the head of Iran’s Red Crescent, Pirhossein Kolivand, told state TV.

Search operation

The suspected helicopter wreckage was identified by a Turkish drone through a source of heat in the early hours of Monday. It shared the coordinates of the possible crash site with Iranian authorities, Reuters reported citing the Anadolu news agency.

Iranian President was flying in a US-made helicopter

State news agency IRNA reported that the Iranian President was flying in a US-made Bell 212 helicopter. Soon after the reports of crash surfaced, the chief of staff of Iran's army ordered all resources of the army and the elite Revolutionary Guards to be put to use in search and rescue operations.

Earlier, the national broadcaster had halted all regular programmes to show prayers being held for the President, who went missing yesterday, across the country. In the early hours of Monday, it showed a rescue team, wearing bright jackets and head torches, huddled around a GPS device as they searched a pitch-black mountainside on foot in a blizzard.

(With inputs from agencies)

ALSO READ: Ebrahim Raisi: Iran's 'death committee' President whose ill-fated helicopter crashes in foggy weather

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