• Monday, June 24, 2024


Likely final visuals of Iran president Raisi before chopper crash; WATCH

Irani’s foreign minister and some other officials besides the aircraft’s crew were also killed in the accident.

Rescue team members work at the crash site of a helicopter carrying Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi in Varzaghan, in northwestern Iran, on May 20, 2024. (Photo by AZIN HAGHIGHI/MOJ News Agency/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

HOURS before Ebrahim Raisi, the president of Iran, perished in a helicopter crash in a mountainous and forested region of his country after returning from an official visit to the border of the neighbouring country of Azerbaijan, he was seen sitting by the side of a window in the aircraft in a video shared by Iran’s state media on Sunday (19).

It showed Raisi, 63, looking out as the camera panned to show a number of senior officials with him on board, including Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who was sitting opposite to the former.

Nearly 30 minutes after the helicopter took off, contact was lost with it and nearly 16 hours later, mangled wreckage of the aircraft, which was completely destroyed, was found on a mountain peak. The bodies of those who were flying in it were charred beyond recognition. The remains of the machine and the humans were found after hours of frantic rescue operations that were supported by other countries such as Russia, Turkey and even the European Union bloc.

The Bell 212 aircraft, which was made in the US, is believed to be decades old. Iran reportedly finds it difficult to obtain new aircraft or parts due to international sanctions.

Read: Modi condoles Iran president’s death in helicopter crash


“The servant of Iranian nation, Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi has achieved the highest level of martyrdom whilst serving the people,” the Middle Eastern nation’s state television said.

The Iranian media initially called the situation an “accident” with the country’s deputy president for executive affairs Mohsen Mansouri saying two officials had contacted the rescue teams, suggesting that the accident might not have been deadly.

Iran’s first vice president Mohammad Mokhber was expected to become the interim president following Raisi’s death but according to experts, there could be domestic instability in Iran in the coming days since there reportedly no immediate successor in sight. Raisi, who took charge in 2021, was preparing for his re-election in 2025. All Iranian presidents since 1981 have served two terms.

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