Dubai, May 20:

President Sayid Ebrahim Raisi along with foreign minister Amir Abdollahian have been found dead at the site of a helicopter crash Monday after an overnight search through a foggy, mountainous region of the country’s northwest, state media reported. Raisi was 63.

The crash comes as the Middle East remains on edge from the devastating Israeli war on Gaza resulting in an unprecedented Iranian attack on Israel just last month. Under President Raisi, Iran began building ties with neighbouring Arab countries besides strengthening resistance against the US-Israeli alliance in the region.

Urgent search and rescue operations started on Sunday afternoon in the eastern part of Iran for Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and other officials after their helicopter encountered a “hard landing” incident in an area deemed “impassable.”

The semi-official news agency reports that the Iranian president, foreign minister and other occupants of the helicopter, including East Azerbaijan Province Governor Malek Rahmati, have been martyred.

The helicopter went down in the mountains near Jolfa, a city on the border with the nation of Azerbaijan, some 600 kilometres northwest of the capital, Tehran.

Raisi was returning from neighbouring Azerbaijan. According to the local media, nine people were onboard the helicopter and they included president, foreign minister, governor of Eastern Azerbaijan province Malek Rahmati, Tabriz’s Friday prayer Imam Mohammad Ali Alehashem, a pilot, copilot, crew chief, head of security, and another bodyguard.

The local media reported that heavy rains, fog, and wind caused the helicopter crash, while some described it as a “hard landing.”

Following the reports of the crash on Sunday, the chief of staff of Iran’s army ordered all army and elite Revolutionary Guards resources to be used in search and rescue operations. During the early hours of Monday, several visuals on social media 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.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei sought to reassure Iranians, saying there would be no disruption to state affairs.

President Raeisi and his accompanying delegation were returning from a ceremony to inaugurate a dam on the Aras River with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev.

Following the announcement of the martyrdom of Raeisi and his team, the cabinet held an emergency session headed by Vice President Mohammad Mokhber.

The helicopter ‘Bell 212’ is used for police use, medical transport, troop transport, the energy industry and firefighting. According to its type certification documents with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, it can carry 15 people, including the crew, reported Reuters.


Shaharbeen News Service Kashmir is a news service which covers, gathers, writes, and distributes news to newspapers, periodicals, radio and television broadcasters, government agencies, and other users. We at SNS Kashmir believe in fair and independent journalism to inform our masses or subscribers and readers about the happenings around the world. The prime focus of the news gathering and reporting is focused on Jammu and Kashmir state.

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