Iranian president helicopter crash: Ebrahim Raisi confirmed dead by state media

Peter R Foster IDMA /
UPDATE: May 20, 2024, 10:12 (UTC +3):

The death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has been confirmed by a government press release following hours of confusion and a complex rescue operation hindered by weather conditions. 

No survivors were found at the crash site. The accident also claimed the lives of Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, East Azerbaijan Governor Malek Rahmati, the Imam of Juma Tabriz, the flight crew, and the rest of the occupants, totaling nine casualties. 

A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi had to make an emergency “hard landing” in a mountainous and rural area close to the Iran-Azerbaijan border on May 19, 2024. Due to cloudy weather, emergency services were unable to reach the site for hours. 

Raisi had earlier met with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliev to participate in the inauguration of a dam on the Araxe River near the Iranian prefecture of Khoda Afarin. The incident occurred as the return trip to Tabriz, where Raisi was scheduled to visit an oil refinery, was underway. 

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi (Credit: lev radin /

Three helicopters were part of the presidential convoy. Only one had to make the emergency landing, and the other two helicopters continued their journey without issues. According to footage of the visit recorded hours before the incident, the helicopter involved seems to have been a Bell 212. 

Various Iranian media outlets have reported that Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, East Azerbaijan Governor Malik Rahmati, and other officials were also on board the helicopter. The landing reportedly occurred near the Dizmar forest, which is difficult to access due to its rugged terrain. 

Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi has confirmed the incident on television, mentioning that weather conditions had impeded rescue efforts. 

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