Ebrahim Raisi Death: First Visuals Emerge From Crash Site, Rescuers Retrieve Bodies From Helicopter

May 20, 2024 - 13:19
Ebrahim Raisi Death: First Visuals Emerge From Crash Site, Rescuers Retrieve Bodies From Helicopter

Moments after the Iran state media confirmed the death of President Ebrahim Raisi and other leaders in a helicopter crash in mountainous terrain near the Azerbaijan border, the first visuals of rescuers carrying the bodies of the victims emerged on Monday.

The charred wreckage of the helicopter that crashed on Sunday carrying Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian was found early on Monday after an overnight search in blizzard conditions.

Red Crescent and army rescuers on Monday morning spotted the bodies of the leaders and transferred them from the mountains to low-lying areas.

The fresh visuals from the crash site showed rescuers covering the bodies and carrying them in stretchers in batches.

State TV gave no immediate cause for the crash that occurred in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province.

The helicopter also carried the governor of Iran’s East Azerbaijan province, other officials, and bodyguards, the state-run IRNA news agency reported.

Early Monday morning, Turkish authorities released what they described as drone footage showing what appeared to be a fire in the wilderness that they “suspected to be wreckage of helicopter.” The coordinates listed in the footage put the fire some 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of the Azerbaijan-Iranian border on the side of a steep mountain.

Footage released by the IRNA early Monday showed what the agency described as the crash site, across a steep valley in a green mountain range. Soldiers speaking in the local Azeri language said: “There it is, we found it.”

The crash comes as the Middle East remains unsettled by the Israel-Hamas war, during which Raisi under Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei launched an unprecedented drone-and-missile attack on Israel just last month. Under Raisi, Iran enriched uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels, further escalating tensions with the West as Tehran also supplied bomb-carrying drones to Russia for its war in Ukraine and armed militia groups across the region.

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