Turkish drone locates possible wreckage of Iranian President’s helicopter in East Azerbaijan

President Ebrahim Raisi

20th May 2024 – (Tehran) A Turkish drone has detected a heat source in the rugged terrains of the province, potentially marking the crash site of a helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. The incident, which has gripped the region in suspense, occurred under unclear circumstances with the fate of the passengers still unknown.

The helicopter, also transporting key figures such as Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and Governor of Eastern Azerbaijan, Malek Rahmati, was reported missing earlier this week. According to the semi-official FARS news agency, the detected heat source lies within the mountainous area of Tavil, prompting the immediate deployment of rescue forces to the site.

Anadolu, the Turkish news agency, confirmed the drone’s discovery, detailing that the coordinates of the heat source have been shared with Iranian authorities to aid the search and rescue operations. The collaboration underscores a moment of international cooperation amidst a tense geopolitical backdrop.

Reports from Iranian state media outlined that the helicopter carried a total of nine individuals, including security and flight crew. The specific cause of the crash remains undisclosed, though initial suggestions point towards adverse weather conditions complicating navigation.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran has expressed gratitude towards the numerous nations and international bodies that have extended support during this critical period. Among the responders, Turkey and Russia have been notably proactive, with Russia deploying special aircraft and a team of rescuers to assist in the ongoing operations.

As the search intensifies, the region remains blanketed in palpable anxiety, with local communities and international observers alike hoping for the safe recovery of all on board. The Iranian government continues to release updates as the situation develops, maintaining a cautious optimism amidst the challenging rescue efforts.