Chopper Carrying Iran's President Raisi Crashes, Weather Delays Search Op | What We Know

As per reports, the helicopter either crashed or made an emergency landing in the Dizmar forest between the cities of Varzaqan and Jolfa in Iran's East Azerbaijan province, near its border with Azerbaijan, under circumstances that remain unclear.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi | Photo: AP

A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and other senior officials crash, "or made an emergency landing" on Sunday in Jolfa of northwestern Iran, reports said. Iran's state media termed it "hard landing” with elaborating further.

As per reports, the helicopter either crashed or made an emergency landing in the Dizmar forest between the cities of Varzaqan and Jolfa in Iran's East Azerbaijan province, near its border with Azerbaijan, under circumstances that remain unclear.

Initially, Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said the helicopter “was forced to make a hard landing due to the bad weather and fog.”

Iran President Raisi Chopper Crash | Top Points

  • Iranian officials said the mountainous, forested terrain and heavy fog affected search-and-rescue operations. The president of the Iranian Red Crescent Society, Pir-Hossein Koulivand, said 40 search teams were on the ground in the area despite “challenging weather conditions”. The search is being done by teams on the ground, as “the weather conditions have made it impossible to conduct aerial searches” via drones, Koulivand said, according to IRNA.

  • Saudi Arabia expressed its willingness to help Iran amid the country's President Ebrahim Raisi's chopper crash. Saudi has said it is 'concerned' about Raisi's chopper crash and ready is to help if needed.

  • The European Union is providing assistance in locating President Ebrahim Raisi's chopper upon Iran's request.

  • Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei expressed regret over the "concerning" incident involving the country's President Raisi and his entourage, saying, "We're hopeful God will return the president and his companions to the nation."He called on the entire nation to pray for him and gave an assurance that "there will be no disruption in the country's operations."

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said, "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."

  • Iran's government spokesperson has said, "We are experiencing a difficult and complicated situation; It is the right of the people and the media to be informed on the latest news about the president's helicopter accident, but according to the coordinates of the accident site and the weather conditions, there is nothing new until now. In these moments, patience, prayer and trust in rescue teams are the way forward."

  • Iran's state TV has stopped its regular programs on all its major channels and is airing either the latest updates of the rescue efforts or the people praying for Raisi.

  • Armenia extends its support to Iran. The country's foreign ministry said, "Shocked by the news coming from Iran. Our thoughts & prayers are w/ President Raisi, Minister Amir Abdolahian & all others reported to be at the site. As rescue operations continue, Armenia, as a close & friendly neighbor of Iran, is ready to provide all necessary support."

  • US President Joe Biden has been briefed on the reports of the crash of a helicopter carrying Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi, according to the White House.

  • The rescue efforts to trace Iran President Raisi's helicopter is getting 'more complicated' amid cold weather, the country's state media reported.

  • The exact location of Iran President Raisi's helicopter believed to have crashed in northwestern part of the country still remains unknown as search and rescue teams are braving adverse weather conditions and challenging terrain to locate the site, IRNA said. As per the report, "The weather is extremely foggy, which is making the rescue efforts very difficult. The exact location of the President's helicopter is still unknown."

  • Iran’s Red Crescent Society (IRCS) has dispatched more groups to help locate the site where the helicopter carrying President Raisi has crashed in northwestern province of East Azarbaijan, IRNA reported.

  • Iraq's Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' Al Sudani has said the country's capabilities are available to help Iran's efforts to locate the Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's helicopter.

  • Iran's Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi as per IRNA saidt due to the tough weather conditions, "it may take time for the search and rescue team to reach the site of the crash." He as per the report expressed hope that the team will reach the site soon and convey more information.

ALSO READ | Iran Seeks India’s Involvement To End Ongoing Israel-Hamas War

  • AP reported Raisi was traveling in Iran's East Azerbaijan province. The report said incident happened near Jolfa, a city on the border with with the nation of Azerbaijan, some 600 kilometers (375 miles) northwest of the Iranian capital, Tehran. Some reports put it farther east near the village of Uzi, but details remained contradictory.

  • It is said Raisi was returning from a ceremony to open a dam on Iran’s border with Azerbaijan when his helicopter crashed upon landing in Varzaqan region.

  • The country's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, Governor of East Azarbaijan Province Malek Rahmati are also said to be among others on board the helicopter.

  • Reports said there were three helicopters in Raisi's convoy, two of which were carrying ministers and officials, and they arrived at their destination safely.

  • Authorities said bad weather conditions have made it difficult for rescue teams from the Iranian Red Crescent Society to reach the area where the incident happened, Press TV reported. Drone units are also assisting with the emergency operation.

  • Iran's state TV aired images which showed people praying at Imam Reza Shrine in the city of Mashhad, as well as in Qom and other locations across the country, for the well-being of the president.

  • 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.