Iranian President Raisi’s Helicopter Crashes in Mountainous Terrain

According to Reuters, an Iranian official informed the news agency that a helicopter transporting Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his foreign minister crashed in heavy fog while traversing mountainous terrain on Sunday. Search and rescue teams are facing challenges in reaching the crash site.

There are concerns for the safety of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian following the helicopter crash after their visit to the border with Azerbaijan in Iran’s northwest.

State TV reported that rescuers established contact with at least one passenger and a crew member, while a Turkish drone detected a heat source suspected to be the wreckage and shared potential crash site coordinates with Iranian authorities, as reported by Anadolu news agency.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei assured Iranians that state affairs would continue smoothly despite the incident. Iranian state media attributed the crash to adverse weather conditions, hindering the rescue mission. President Raisi was said to be traveling in a Bell 212 helicopter made in the U.S.

The head of Iran’s army instructed the mobilization of all available resources from the army and Revolutionary Guards for search and rescue efforts, while Iran’s national broadcaster also interrupted regular programming to broadcast prayers for President Raisi nationwide.

In the midst of challenging weather conditions, a rescue team was shown on state media utilizing GPS devices and wearing bright jackets as they combed through the dark mountainside during a snowstorm in the early hours of Monday.

International support has been extended, with neighboring countries expressing concern and offering assistance. The White House confirmed President Joe Biden’s awareness of the incident, while Turkey dispatched a drone, helicopter, vehicles, and a rescue team as per Iran’s request. The European Union provided emergency satellite mapping technology in solidarity.