Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's Haunting Helicopter Photo Captures Moments Before Fatal Crash
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's Haunting Helicopter Photo Captures Moments Before Fatal Crash
Haunting photo captures Iranian President Raisi moments before fatal helicopter crash. Rescue efforts underway in remote mountainous region

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was seen aboard a helicopter shortly before it crashed in a remote mountainous area on Sunday. Haunting photos released by Iranian state media show Raisi sitting calmly inside the helicopter, along with other officials.

Though Iranian media has declared him dead, no official announcement has been made hours after the crash. Rescue efforts have been hindered by nightfall and difficult terrain near Iran’s border with Azerbaijan.

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Iran’s Mehr news agency confirmed the deaths, reporting that “all passengers of the helicopter carrying the Iranian president and foreign minister were martyred”. An Iranian official earlier told Reuters the helicopter carrying Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian was completely burned in the crash on Sunday. State TV reported that images from the site showed the aircraft slammed into a mountain peak, although there was no official word on the cause of the crash.

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State news agency IRNA said Raisi was flying in a U.S.-made Bell 212 helicopter. Raisi, 63, was elected president in 2021, and since taking office has ordered a tightening of morality laws, overseen a bloody crackdown on anti-government protests and pushed hard in nuclear talks with world powers. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds ultimate power with a final say on foreign policy and Iran’s nuclear programme, had earlier sought to reassure Iranians, saying there would be no disruption to state affairs.

Iran was thrown into uncertainty Sunday as search and rescue teams scoured a fog-shrouded mountain area after Raisi’s helicopter went missing in what state media described as an “accident”. Hours later on Sunday, a Turkish Bayraktar Akinci drone found a heat source in the wreckage of the helicopter transporting the leader of the Islamic country. With precision, it has relayed the coordinates to Iranian authorities, intensifying efforts in the ongoing search and rescue operation, Turkish agency Anadolu reported.

(With agency inputs)

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