Search underway after helicopter carrying Iran’s President Raisi crashes

A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi made a “hard landing,” state television reported, as officials said extensive search operations were underway but were being impeded by poor weather conditions.

Iranian state media said the crash occurred on Sunday near Jolfa in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province.

The semi-official Fars news agency urged Iranians to pray for Raisi, and state TV broadcast prayers for his safety.

Raisi was returning from a visit to neighboring Azerbaijan, where he had traveled to inaugurate a dam alongside Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev. The incident took place during his return journey.

State-linked media reported that three helicopters were part of the Iranian president’s convoy, and the other two made it back safely.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, East Azerbaijan Governor Malek Rahmati, and Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Ale-Hashem, the representative of the Iranian supreme leader to the province, were also on board the same helicopter as Raisi, state media reported.

Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said, “One of the helicopters in a group of three had a hard landing, and authorities are awaiting further details.”

An unnamed official described the situation as dire: “We are still hopeful, but information coming from the crash site is very concerning.”

Search and rescue efforts are being hampered by heavy fog and difficult terrain. Videos aired by Iranian television showed large search teams navigating the mountainous area on foot.

The bad weather has made the operation challenging, with state news agency IRNA reporting that the foggy conditions are complicating rescue efforts.

No further updates on the condition of President Raisi and other officials have been provided at this time.