Red Crescent reaches helicopter crash site, President’s fate unknown

File photo.

20th May 2024 – (Tehran) The Iranian Red Crescent has confirmed that their search and rescue teams have reached the crash site of the helicopter carrying the president, according to a statement. However, no information has been provided regarding the survival of President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions. Iranian media outlets have reported that the Red Crescent has located the wreckage, but the fate of those onboard remains uncertain.

China has expressed concern over the crash, with the Chinese Foreign Ministry stating their hopes for the safety of President Raisi and the others. They have pledged to closely follow the situation and provide necessary support and assistance for Iran’s rescue efforts. Raisi has been actively working to strengthen ties between Tehran and Beijing.

Ebrahim Raisi, a hardliner with deep connections in the judiciary and religious elite, is often considered a potential successor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Having begun his studies at the Qom religious seminary at a young age, Raisi has risen through the ranks of the judicial and political systems. He ran unsuccessfully for president in 2017 but emerged victorious four years later.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has expressed solidarity with Iran, with Secretary-General Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi stating that the organisation is closely following the disappearance of the helicopter. Albudaiwi hopes for a swift discovery of Raisi and his companions and emphasises the GCC’s support for the government and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran during these challenging times.

The Iranian Red Crescent has dispatched 73 rescue teams, including detector dogs, to the suspected crash site identified by a Turkish drone. However, adverse weather conditions, including rain and fog, are hampering visibility and making the rescue operation difficult.