Iranians asked to pray for president as rescuers search for helicopter crash site

Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency publishes footage purporting to show rescue crews speeding through a misty, rural forest to reach the site where a helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is believed to have crashed.

Bad weather – with heavy fog and rain – is hampering the efforts of rescue teams to get to the accident site in the mountains in the north west of Iran.

The condition of those on board the helicopter remains unknown for now, with reports that no contact has yet been made.

President Raisi was travelling with the Iranian foreign minister in a convoy of three helicopters over the area – two of the helicopters are reported to have landed safely.

Raisi was elected president on his second attempt in 2021.

He is seen as a hardliner and regarded as a potential successor one day to Ayatollah Khamenei as Supreme Leader.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi is considered a hardline cleric with ultra-conservative political views.

Raisi, 63, became the deputy prosecutor in Tehran when he was only 25. He went on to serve as Tehran’s prosecutor, then head of the State Inspectorate Organisation and first deputy head of the judiciary, before being appointed prosecutor general of Iran in 2014.

Raisi surprised observers by standing for the presidency for the first time in 2017 and came second. In 2019, Ayatollah Khamenei named him to the powerful position of head of the judiciary.

He was elected Iran’s president in June 2021.

What we know so far

A helicopter carrying President Ebrahim Raisi has had to make a “hard landing” after it got in difficulties, state media reports.

The details of what happened remain unclear, but here’s a look at what we know so far:

  • According to local media, Raisi was heading to the city of Tabriz, in the north west of Iran, after returning from the border with Azerbaijan, where he opened the Qiz Qalasi and Khodaafarin dams
  • The helicopter was one of three travelling in a convoy
  • Iran’s interior minister says rescuers are still trying to reach the site, but their efforts are being hampered by poor weather conditions
  • A reporter with Fars news agency says visibility in the mountainous and wooded area was down to only about five meters. The area is about 50km to the north of Tabriz
  • Ahmad Alirezabeigi, an Iranian MP for the city of Tabriz, says that emergency rescue workers have yet to find the location of the helicopter carrying the president
  • He says two other two helicopters in the convoy landed safely

Stay with us for more.

Sometimes when a business is growing, it needs a little help.

Right now Kaniva News provides a free, politically independent, bilingual news service for readers around the world that is absolutely unique. We are the largest New Zealand-based Tongan news service, and our stories reach Tongans  wherever they are round the world. But as we grow, there are increased demands on Kaniva News for translation into Tongan on our social media accounts and for the costs associated with expansion. We believe it is important for Tongans to have their own voice and for Tongans to preserve their language, customs and heritage. That is something to which we are strongly committed. That’s why we are asking you to consider sponsoring our work and helping to preserve a uniquely Tongan point of view for our readers and listeners.

Latest news

Related news