All You Need To Know About Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s Helicopter Crash

Reuters, as well as Iranian media, have confirmed that a senior official informed that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who was involved in a helicopter crash, has passed away.

All You Need To Know About Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's Helicopter Crash 1

Update (01:17 ET): Iranian media has announced that Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the foreign minister, and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, 63, died in a helicopter crash on Sunday while returning from an official visit to Azerbaijan.

Raisi’s passing was also verified by Reuters.

Summary: 

  • Under condition of anonymity, a senior official told the outlet, “President Raisi, the foreign minister, and all the passengers in the helicopter were killed in the crash.”
  • Despite the fact that Iran’s top leadership has not yet released an official statement, it appears that President Raisi has passed away:
  • Iran’s official media has verified President Ebrahim Raisi’s passing.
  • “President Raisi’s helicopter was completely burned in the crash,” an Iranian official told Reuters. Sadly, it is believed that every passenger is dead.
  • While returning from an official visit to Azerbaijan earlier on Sunday, the chopper carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the foreign minister, and other dignitaries went down in a remote northern region.
  • After initially being referred to as a “hard landing,” it was eventually largely accepted as a “crash,” and as the hours went on, the situation appeared to get worse.
  • Due to poor weather, it has taken hours for search and rescue to get to the crash site; nevertheless, little is known about their efforts.
  • The Foreign Ministry stated: “Despite adverse weather and environmental conditions, efforts by rescue teams to reach the accident site continue earnestly and with hope.”
  • The Supreme Leader of Iran requests prayers for Raisi and the missing officials while ensuring stability in the government leadership, leaving the Iranian populace in a position of “uncertainty.”
  • Russia and Turkey are among the nations that have contributed search and rescue assistance. According to the Turkish disaster management organization AFAD, Iran requested a night vision search and rescue helicopter from Turkey.
  • Gulf nations voice alarm at the crash and offer assistance with the search.
  • ‘We hope for good news’ An official from Iran informs Al Jazeera.
  • State TV was informed by an Iranian official that there were multiple interactions between the president’s chopper crew and one of its passengers.
  • There are conflicting reports: Iranian Red Crescent Society president Pir-Hossein Koulivand informed Iranian state TV IRINN that “rescue crews haven’t yet located the crash site of the helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.”
  • Commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Hossein Salami, has arrived at the crash site.
  • “We’re searching the area inch by inch, but the weather is very cold, foggy, and rainy. The Iranian Army’s northwest headquarters commander stated, “The rain is gradually turning to snowfall.
  • In Tehran, the capital, there is reportedly a strong military presence.
  • Although there are reports of other people blowing off fireworks, thousands of Iranians pray for Raisi’s safe return following the tragedy.
  • Raisi had been riding in a Bell helicopter that was reportedly over forty years old.
  • US congressman gloats over Raisi crash: “Good riddance. Raisi was a murderous human rights abuser before and during his Presidency,” Rep Mike Waltz (R) wrote in a social media post.
  • There is a lot of conjecture on the internet regarding the possibility of foreign intelligence or Israel being involved in a secret scheme.
  • The White House has not commented, but it has stated that President Biden received a briefing and that it is aware of the evolving situation.

Update (2325ET): While Iran’s senior leadership has yet to release an official announcement, it appears that President Raisi’s death is being confirmed.

Iran’s state television says there is “no sign” of life among passengers of the helicopter which was carrying President Ebrahim Raisi and other officials.

“Upon finding the helicopter, there was no sign of the helicopter passengers being alive as of yet,” state TV reports.

An Iranian official tells Reuters: “President Raisi’s helicopter was completely burned in the crash… unfortunately, all passengers are feared dead.”

About fifteen hours after the incident was originally reported, some of the first images of the scene of the downed helicopter have surfaced.

All You Need To Know About Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's Helicopter Crash 2

Footage of the Bell helicopter used to transport the president may be seen below. It is rumored to be decades old, and for many years, sanctions spearheaded by the US have crippled Iran’s aviation industry.

Update (1420ET): The fate of Iranian President Raisi, his foreign minister, and other dignitaries on board the downed helicopter is becoming more and more known.

  • Iran’s president Raisi’s crashed helicopter has been found by search teams – State TV — Reuters
  • Iranian official tells State TV: Contacts have been made with one of the passengers and one of the crew members of the president’s helicopter on several occasions — Reuters

In the midst of inconsistent and premature information, the Red Crescent group is disputing that the crash site has been located. Iranian officials have indicated that the president is still alive thus far, but there is still a great deal of uncertainty and ambiguity around this as there was a lot of talk that he might not be.

Reports of a strong military presence on the streets of Tehran, the country’s capital, have Iranian officials trying to reassure the people and the international community that the country’s governance and decision-making processes are stable and guaranteed.

The crew and “one of the passengers on board” have been contacted after “the Iranian president’s helicopter has been found.” It is now nighttime, with unfavorable weather…

Updated at 13:15 ET: Things are not looking good after several hours of a massive search and rescue operation. Iranian officials have been expressing “thoughts and prayers” in response to reports that severe fog and unfavorable weather have prevented a proper aerial search for President Raisi’s downed helicopter and those aboard. Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, was reportedly having an emergency meeting with the National Security Council in Tehran; but, subsequent reports from state outlets have minimized or reduced this, leaving deep doubt in their wake. The growing rumors that the president is dead are unsettling the people of Iran:

“Nobody knows what exactly has happened and how the president and other local officials, because the situation is quite complicated,” he told Al Jazeera.

“As time goes on, hopes are decreasing because the conditions are getting much worse and it’s getting darker,” Aslani, a senior research fellow at the Center for Middle East Strategic Studies, noted.

“What is being felt here in Tehran [Iran’s capital] is mostly that feeling of uncertainty.”

The Supreme Leader of Iran’s first official statement:

The president, his foreign minister, and other officials are currently officially missing in a mountainous, forested location close to the border between Iran and Azerbaijan. Amid unverified rumors that even some search and rescue units may be missing, Iran has mobilized its armed forces, including the IRGC.

First images from the far northern border area with Azerbaijan reveal dense fog making it difficult to see for a few dozen meters ahead.

According to an independent regional monitor, “This is hardly a surprise. First responders and rescue crews are being dispatched en-masse without proper briefing/delegation of command.”

Additional video displaying challenging terrain and meteorological conditions. At a distance, visibility is almost nonexistent.

Foreign media has started to speculate that Raisi may be dead, especially in Israel:

All You Need To Know About Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's Helicopter Crash 3

As the search and rescue effort drags on for hours and involves a significant military and security reaction, including the deployment of drones and other assets over the area, there has also been conjecture over potential foreign meddling.

COMMENT FROM AZERBAIJAN’S PRESIDENT:

“Today, after a friendly meeting with the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, the news of the emergency landing of the helicopter carrying the Iranian high delegation caused great concern. Our prayers to Almighty God are with President Ebrahim Raisi and his accompanying delegation. As a neighbor, friend and brother country, the Republic of Azerbaijan is ready to provide all kinds of support.”

The Iranian president’s official Instagram account is requesting that everyone pray for his safety.

The state media also seems to be bracing for the worst, as evidenced by the following photographs that depict Raisi at a previous religious pilgrimage:

The White House released a statement stating that President Biden had been briefed:

US President Joe Biden was briefed on the helicopter crash involving Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, according to the White House.

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, accompanying Biden aboard Air Force One on Sunday, offered no other details.

****

Breaking: Rescuers are attempting to reach Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his crew after their chopper crashed in a remote northern region of the nation.

Although there are currently no other facts available regarding the specifics of the helicopter incident, state media is referring to it as a “hard landing” and implies that the president is still alive. The New York Times writes that 16 rescue teams have been sent out to find the chopper, but bad weather is making things difficult. After over five hours, the teams are still unable to find the crash. Recent reports, cited by state media and reported by Al Jazeera, state:

  • Adverse weather conditions, including heavy fog, are hampering rescue efforts and the helicopter is still missing.
  • Iran’s Fars News Agency calls on Iranians to pray for President Raisi.
All You Need To Know About Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's Helicopter Crash 4

What is known is that Raisi’s helicopter went down in the East Azerbaijan region of the country, close to the border city of Jolfa. At the time, the air convoy consisted of up to three helicopters in total.

Iran’s interior minister, Ahmad Vahidi, stated on state television, “Given the complexity of the region, the connection has been difficult. We are hoping that the rescue teams reach the helicopter and can give us more information.”

Hossein Amirabdollahian, Iran’s foreign minister, was one of the officials on board the plane, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.

According to at least one Iranian source cited by the Associated Press, there was a “crash” and an immediate rescue effort is presently taking place in a wooded area:

One local government official used the word “crash” to describe the incident, but he acknowledged to an Iranian newspaper that he had yet to reach the site himself.

Rescuers were attempting to reach the site, state TV said, but had been hampered by poor weather conditions. There had been heavy rain and fog reported with some wind. IRNA called the area a “forest.”

It seems that Raisi was on his way back from a visit to Azerbaijan earlier in the day, where he had assisted President Ilham Aliyev in overseeing the commissioning of a dam this morning. According to X Sunday, the semi-official Iranian news service Tasnim said:

“Some of the president’s companions on this helicopter were able to communicate with Central Headquarters, raising hopes that the incident could have ended without casualties.”

Raisi has survived the event, according to early reports, but once more, it seems like a “hard landing,” probably much worse than what the official media is letting on.

It appears that there may be high-ranking officials among the casualties in this case because rescue personnel have not even arrived at the scene of the downed helicopter.

Online commenters began to speculate about possible foreign involvement almost quickly. “Israel?” some wondered. It is also commonly known that helicopter accidents are more likely to occur in poor weather, during fog, and over challenging mountainous terrain. Sanctions imposed by Washington have long crippled Iran’s aviation sector.

Earlier, GreatGameIndia reported that, according to Mick Mulroy, an ABC News national security and defense analyst, Iran has provided drone submarines to Yemen’s Houthis.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. The Iranians are quiet!
    They know “israel” and its USA Stooges did this act of wanton terrorism!
    I can’t wait for the recoil from Iran!
    #ArmageddonNow

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