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News > World

Forced Landing of Presidential Helicopter in Iran

  • Illustrative Image: the Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi.

    Illustrative Image: the Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi. | Photo: X/ @AlertaMundoNews

Published 19 May 2024

Rescue Operations Underway: adverse weather conditions, particularly dense fog, which has complicated search and rescue operations

The helicopter carrying Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi and several high-ranking officials, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and East Azerbaijan Governor Malek Rahmati, made a forced landing in Varzaqan, a town in the northwestern province of East Azerbaijan.


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The incident occurred while they were returning from a ceremony to inaugurate the "Qiz Qalasi" dam on the Aras River, accompanied by Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev.

According to official reports, the forced landing was caused by adverse weather conditions, particularly dense fog, which has complicated search and rescue operations. Iran's Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi confirmed that 16 rescue teams have been dispatched to the affected area. However, due to the difficult weather conditions, rescue efforts are arduous and expected to take time.

Iranian authorities have deployed drone units and the Red Crescent forces, as well as military and police personnel, in a massive operation to locate the helicopter. According to Iranian television, up to 20 rescue teams are already at the accident site, working intensely to find the aircraft and its occupants.

The incident occurred as President Raisi was returning from an important dam inauguration ceremony with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev. Two other helicopters carrying several ministers and officials safely reached their destination without further incident.

"There have been contacts with [the president's] companions, but given that the area is mountainous and it is difficult to establish contacts, we hope that the rescue teams will reach the site of the incident sooner and give us more information," Vahidi said on National TV.

Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi indicated that they are awaiting the full arrival of rescue teams to provide accurate information about the situation. Meanwhile, the nation is closely following the development of rescue operations in the Varzaqan area.

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