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Contacts made with passenger, crew member aboard Iranian president's helicopter: VP

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-05-20 03:55
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Rescue team work following a crash of a helicopter carrying Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi, in Varzaqan, East Azerbaijan Province, Iran, on May 19. [Photo/Agencies]

TEHRAN -- Iran's Vice President for Executive Affairs Mohsen Mansouri said on Sunday that contact had been established with one of the passengers and one of the crew members aboard the helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

He told the state IRIB TV from an area near the possible scene of the incident, which occurred earlier in the day to the helicopter carrying Raisi and members of his accompanying team in the northwestern province of East Azarbaijan.

Mansouri said the Iranian president was traveling in a convoy of three helicopters when the one carrying him lost communication with the other two approximately 30 minutes after takeoff.

The helicopters immediately began a search of the area for about 20 minutes, but were compelled to make an emergency landing due to bad weather conditions and thick fog.

Rescuers from the Iranian Red Crescent Society, police, army, and Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, had been sent to the scene, he said. However, due to the unfavorable weather conditions, the rescue operations were going on slowly in the region, which was a hard-to-reach area.

In addition, the low temperature and rainfall were causing further difficulties, Mansouri said.

The helicopter carrying Raisi and his team had an incident and made a "hard landing" in the northwestern province of East Azarbaijan on Sunday. The possible site of the incident has been determined to be in Varzaqan County, some 670 km away from the Iranian capital Tehran.

The president's convoy was on its way from Khoda Afarin County, where Raisi had attended the inauguration ceremony of a storage dam along with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev earlier in the day, to the provincial capital Tabriz for the inauguration of a petrochemical complex.

According to the IRIB TV, Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, East Azarbaijan's Governor Malek Rahmati, and the Friday prayers leader Tabriz Mohammad Ali Ale-Hasehem were onboard the president's helicopter.

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