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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

No sign of survivors as wreckage of chopper carrying Iranian President Raisi located: Reports


There were no signs of any survivors in the wreckage of the crashed helicopter in which Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and other senior officials were travelling, rescuers said after locating the crash site in the country’s northwest early on Monday.

Rescue teams early in the morning located the wreckage of the helicopter in the Dizmar forest, nestled between the cities of Varzaqan and Jolfa in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province.

Pir-Hossein Koulivand, head of the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS), announced in televised remarks that the wreckage of the chopper had been located and there was no sign of any survivors in the incident that took place on Sunday, Iranian Press TV reported.

There is no official confirmation so far of the search and rescue operation having ended.

Initial reports said on Sunday that the chopper carrying President Raisi, Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian and their companions encountered some difficulties and was forced to make a “hard landing”.

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

The President’s convoy included three helicopters. While two of the choppers carrying a number of ministers and officials had landed safely, the main chopper carrying the Iranian President and the Foreign Minister had crashed.

Local residents told IRNA’s reporter that they heard loud “sounds” in the area at the time of the crash.

Executive Vice President Mansouri told National TV that half an hour after the departure of the President’s helicopter, its communication with the other two helicopters was cut off.

More than 40 fully-equipped search and rescue teams, including drones and sniffer dogs, were dispatched to the area to look for the missing chopper.

The Iranian Armed Forces were also deployed commando units and Special Forces to assist in the search operation.

However, the search operation was hampered due to the rugged terrain of the region and the difficult weather conditions, particularly the thick fog in the area.

Besides Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, the Friday prayers leader of Tabriz, Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Al-e-Hashem, was also on board the helicopter carrying President Raisi.

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