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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi

Search and Rescue Operation Underway After Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s Helicopter Makes Hard Landing

East Azarbaijan, May 19, 2024, The Europe Today: An extensive search and rescue operation is currently underway after a helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi made a “hard landing” in the mountainous Dizmar forest region in northwestern Iran. The incident occurred on Sunday between the cities of Varzaqan and Jolfa in East Azarbaijan province as President Raisi was returning from an event to inaugurate a dam alongside Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev.

Local residents reported hearing “sounds” in the area shortly before the incident was confirmed, according to IRNA. In response, more than twenty fully-equipped search and rescue teams, including drones and sniffer dogs, have been dispatched to the site. The Iranian Armed Forces have also deployed commando units and Special Forces to assist in the operation.

The rugged terrain and difficult weather conditions, including thick fog, are complicating the search and rescue efforts, IRNA’s reporter noted. The spokesperson for Iran’s Emergency Services, Babak Yektaparast, stated that eight ambulances have been dispatched to the region, but heavy fog has hindered air rescue efforts, making it impossible for helicopters to land. Emergency medical teams, consisting of technicians and doctors, were deployed immediately after the incident was reported. An emergency helicopter was also dispatched but had to turn back due to the adverse weather conditions.

The operation is ongoing, and officials are working tirelessly to locate and rescue President Raisi and other passengers on board the helicopter.