Home International Rescuers searching for Iran’s president after helicopter makes ‘hard landing’ – state...

Rescuers searching for Iran’s president after helicopter makes ‘hard landing’ – state media

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President Ebrahim Raisi was travelling back from Azerbaijan. Rescuers are struggling to reach the area due to foggy conditions and mountainous terrain.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Picture: Iran’s Presidency, WANA, Handout via Reuters

By Susannah George

A HELICOPTER carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi suffered a “hard landing” on Sunday, according to state-run media, which said Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and other officials were also on board. Their condition is not yet known.

“Unverifiable news has been received that the presidential helicopter has been involved in kind of an accident,” said an anchor with Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. The helicopter was travelling in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province as the president returned from a visit to Azerbaijan.

Another Iranian state news channel called on viewers to pray for “the health of the president and his crew to come out of this accident in full health”.

Rescue teams were struggling to access the area due to the mountainous terrain and poor visibility, according to reports. Video broadcast on state television showed rescue teams in vehicles and on foot approaching the site through dense fog.

Iranian state outlet Tasnim initially reported that “a number of people with the president have managed to make telephone calls and this has raised hope that this accident may not have any casualties,” in the immediate aftermath of the incident, but provided no further details.

Raisi was elected president in 2021, widely seen as the choice of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, after a career in Iran’s judiciary. While in office he has overseen a tightening of morality laws, violent crackdowns on anti-government protests and Iran’s first-ever direct attack on Israel in April.

* This is a breaking news story.

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