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Helicopter carrying President Raeisi makes 'hard landing' in northwestern Iran

Iran's Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi has confirmed that a helicopter carrying President Ebrahim Raeisi makes a hard landing in the city of Jolfa in the northwestern Iranian province of East Azarbaijan.

The helicopter was transporting President Raeisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, East Azarbaijan Governor Malek Rahmati, Friday Prayers leader of Tabriz city Mohammad Ali Al-e Hashem and several other passengers when it encountered difficulties and was forced to make a "hard landing." 

The incident happened at Dizmar forest, between the cities of Varzaqan and Jolfa.

One hour after the incident, rescue teams reached the area and started search operations.

The Red Crescent Society said that 65 emergency relief teams from six provinces of Tehran, Alborz, Ardabil, Zanjan, East Azarbaijan, and West Azerbaijan, have been deployed to the site of the incident and are currently searching the area.

Fifteen Red Crescent K-9 teams (sniffer dogs) along with two Red Crescent drones are also searching the area for any trace of the helicopter carrying the Iranian President.

Due to the adverse weather conditions and severe fog in the area, the Red Crescent's rescue helicopters are currently unable to fly, and the teams are conducting a ground search of the area, he added.

Iran's Emergency Services spokesman said that eight ambulances were sent to the region as heavy fog has made air rescue efforts impossible.

Babak Yektaparast told IRNA news agency that emergency medical teams, including technicians and doctors, were dispatched to the site immediately after the incident was reported.

He added that an emergency helicopter was also deployed to provide assistance, but was forced to return as it was unable to land due to heavy fog.

Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri ordered the mobilization of all resources and capabilities of the Army, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and the Police Command to assist in the search and rescue operation.

The 65th Airborne Special Forces Brigade, known for their expertise in jungle warfare, was also deployed near the site of the helicopter accident.

In a post on X, Iranian government spokesman Ali Bahadori Jahromi said given the location of the incident and the weather conditions, there is "no new information" available at this time.

"It is the right of the people and the media to be informed about the latest news regarding the presidential helicopter incident," he said. "In these moments, patience, prayer, and trust in the rescue teams are the way forward."

Two other helicopters carrying a number of ministers and officials reached the destination safely.

President Raeisi was returning from a ceremony to inaugurate a dam on the Aras River with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev.

Head of IRGC Relief and Rescue Organization talks to Press TV

Speaking to Press TV, Babak Mahmoudi, head of the IRGC’s Relief and Rescue Organization provided more details about the situation on the ground.

“The situation is very difficult and we have rain pouring down and the ground is slippery and muddy,” he said. “And [this] has really complicated the efforts there. But our technical teams, despite all of these hardships and difficulties, are continuing their rescue efforts for hours,” Mahmoudi added.

“However, they have been slowed down and there have been restrictions. And the visibility has now been reduced to less than five meters. And this is the reason for making the rescue efforts more difficult,” noted the official.

“And we hope that, in the next few minutes, the rescue and relief teams would reach the president. And they would return to the embrace of the people in full health.”


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