Helicopter with Iranian President aboard crashes on border with Azerbaijan

KATERYNA TYSHCHENKO — Sunday, 19 May 2024, 16:20

A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi likely crashed on 19 May. The consequences of the crash are unknown.

Source: AP with reference to Iranian state television; Iranian media Tasnim and IRNA

Details: Iranian state TV reported that the helicopter carrying Raisi had had a "hard landing".

Raisi was travelling in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province. State TV reported that the crash occurred near Jolfa, a city on the border with the nation of Azerbaijan, some 600 kilometres northwest of the Iranian capital, Tehran.

The state TV channel added that the rescuers were trying to get to the crash site but couldn't due to poor weather conditions in this region. There were reports about heavy rain and wind.

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 countries built on the Aras River.

Iran has been using different kinds of helicopters in its military and civilian aviation but international sanctions make obtaining the components for them harder. The Iranian military air fleet also largely dates back to before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The Tasnim agency reports that there were three helicopters in the formation, two of which were carrying ministers and officials, and they successfully arrived at their destination.

Reportedly, Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Al-Hashem, Tabriz's Friday Prayer Imam, and Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were aboard the helicopter along with the president.

"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," – Tasnim reports.

Meanwhile, the IRNA agency reports that the helicopter carrying Raisi "crashed upon landing" yet there is currently no information about possible casualties or damage.

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