What do we know so far about Iranian president’s helicopter ‘accident’

The apparent crash of a helicopter carrying Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and the country’s foreign minister on Sunday sent shock waves around the region. Details remained scant in the hours after the incident, and it was unclear if Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and the other officials had survived. This is what we know so far.

The helicopter was carrying Iranian President Raisi, the country’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, the governor of Iran’s East Azerbaijan province and other officials and bodyguards, according to the state-run IRNA news agency. Raisi was returning from a trip to Iran’s border with Azerbaijan earlier Sunday to inaugurate a dam with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, the news agency said.

The helicopter apparently made a “hard landing” in the Dizmar forest between the cities of Varzaqan and Jolfa in Iran's East Azerbaijan province, near its border with Azerbaijan, under circumstances that remain unclear. Initially, Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said the helicopter “was forced to make a hard landing due to the bad weather and fog.”

Raisi’s convoy comprised three helicopters including two that landed safely in the northwestern city of Tabriz. Vahidi said it was “difficult to establish communication” with the third helicopter which was carrying Raisi.

Khamenei has publicly assured Iranians that there would be “no disruption to the operations of the country” as a result of the crash.

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