Last photo of the helicopter carrying Iran's president

Iran's Leadership in Peril as President’s Chopper Vanishes in Crash

Sunday, 05/19/2024

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s helicopter was reported missing earlier today amid dense fog, sparking a search and rescue operation that has extended into the night.

The ISNA news agency reported that based on unofficial sources some of the president's delegation have been killed, but official sources have yet to make any specific statements on the matter.

Two hardline news outlets claimed Raisi is alive and well, but later deleted the posts.

Other high profile members of the government on board include Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. "We remain hopeful, but the incoming details are profoundly disturbing," revealed an Iranian official in a statement to Reuters.

The incident occurred at around 15:30 local time shortly after Raisi’s visit to a border area for a high-profile dam inauguration.

Search teams have finally reached the purported region where the crash occured near Varzaqan in the Jolfa region of East Azarbaijan province, as confirmed by the official IRNA news agency. However, there is no news about reaching the actual crash site.

However, severe fog continues to thwart their efforts, complicating the desperate hunt for the helicopter which remains missing.

A fleet of eight ambulances was dispatched from Tabriz to aid in the emergency operation.

Mohammad Ali Al-Hashem, the Friday Prayer Leader of Tabriz, was also reported to be on board the flight.

The incident unfolded just after the presidential delegation had left Khodabandeh, heading to Tabriz to inaugurate a major petrochemical complex.

Vice President Mohammad Mokhber has rushed to Tabriz to oversee the rescue efforts. Meanwhile, the Red Crescent Society has issued warnings to locals to steer clear of the crash area to prevent interference with the ongoing operation.

Contradictory reports from state TV about the nature of the incident – whether a crash or an emergency landing – only add to the current confusion surrounding the president's whereabouts and condition.

This report is being updated…

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