Updated May 19th, 2024 at 22:40 IST

Ebrahim Raisi, Iran President's Helicopter Suffers Hard Landing: What We Know So Far

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s helicopter reportedly suffered a hard landing, while it was crossing mountain terrain near the border with Azerbaijan.

Reported by: Abhishek Tiwari
Iran President Ebrahim Raisi's helicopter reportedly made hard landing in mountains | Image:X
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Tehran: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s helicopter on Sunday reportedly suffered a hard landing, while it was crossing mountain terrain near the border with Azerbaijan. Raisi was accompanied by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian along with others, when the incident occurred leading to a chaotic situation in the entire country. Iranian media reports claim that the incident occurred due to bad weather conditions and heavy fog near the site in the mountain terrain. It is being claimed that the rescue teams have been mobilised to the spot to initiate the rescue operation as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, prayers have begun in the country for the safety of Raisi and the others aboard the helicopter. A section of media reports have also claimed that the helicopter has crashed into the mountains amid bad weather conditions.

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As per the claims, the helicopter carrying the Iranian President and others suffered a hard landing while crossing mountain terrain in heavy fog, while President Raisi was on his way back from a visit to the border with Azerbaijan.

The concerned authorities are trying to trace the helicopter. However, if reports are to be believed, even after 2.5 hours of the incident, the helicopter remains untraced.

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As efforts are being made to trace the helicopter, here are the things we know so far:

  • Reports claim that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was traveling in Iran's East Azerbaijan province, when the incident took place.
  • Along with Iran President Ebrahim Raisi, Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, the governor of Iran's East Azerbaijan province, Senior Officials of Iran, guards and the crew members were present in the helicopter, reported state-run IRNA news agency.
  • Prayers are being held for Raisi across the country as the rescue teams continue their efforts to search the helicopter in the mountainous area on foot in heavy fog.
  • According to the State media, the incident claimed to have happened near Jolfa, a city on the border with the nation of Azerbaijan, some 600 kilometers Northwest of the Iranian capital city, Tehran. However, it is also being claimed that the mishap took place farther east near the village of Uzi. Confirmation over the same is yet to be ascertained.
  • Raisi had been on the border with Azerbaijan early Sunday to inaugurate a dam with Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev. The dam is the third one that the two nations built on the Aras River.
  • The visit came despite chilly relations between the two nations, including over a gun attack on Azerbaijan's Embassy in Tehran in 2023, and Azerbaijan's diplomatic relations with Israel, which Iran's Shiite theocracy views as its main enemy in the region.
  • Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said, “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. 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.”
  • According to the Interior Minister, the region is a bit rugged, which is why it is getting difficult to make contact. There had been heavy rain and fog reported with some wind in the mountain area, which is also covered by dense forest.
  • A rescue helicopter was dispatched to trace Raisi’s helicopter, however the rescue helicopter couldn’t manage to land and trace the helicopter due to the heavy mist, an emergency services spokesman stated.
  • The 63-year-old Iranian President Raisi is a hard-liner who formerly led the country's judiciary. He is viewed as a protégé of Khamenei. He won Iran's 2021 presidential election, with voting that saw the lowest turnout in the Islamic Republic's history.
  • Under Raisi, Iran now enriches uranium at nearly weapons-grade levels and hampers international inspections. Iranian President Raisi hit the headlines after the country launched a massive drone-and-missile attack on Israel amid its war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. 
  • The incident has happened amid the escalating tension after Iran under Raisi and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei launched an unprecedented drone-and-missile attack on Israel just last month. 
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Published May 19th, 2024 at 22:17 IST