Iran President Ebrahim Raisi killed in chopper crashIANS

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, all other passengers and the crew of a helicopter that crashed earlier are feared dead, head of the Iranian Red Crescent Society Pir-Hossein Kolivand announced.

"No signs of alive passengers have been found after the discovery of the crashed helicopter location," he said on IRIB TV channel. The helicopter also carried Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Governor of the East Azerbaijan Province Malek Rakhmati and Tabriz Imam of Friday Prayer Mohammad Ali Ale-Hashem.

According to IRNA, Kolivand said the teams had arrived at the wreckage of the crashed copter. President Raisi was returning with several others after inaugurating a dam on Iran's border with the Azerbaijan Republic when his helicopter crashed.

In a televised address, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged calm and assured that there would be no disruption in the country's governance. 

The chopper also had Foreign Minister Hussein Amirabdollahian and seven others on board. After a search operation lasting several hours, the emergency services were still around 2 kilometres away from the site and had identified the helicopter.

Ebrahim Raisi
Ebrahim RaisiIANS

Without giving further detail, Kolivand said that "the condition is not good." "73 rescue teams are present in the search area of the helicopter in Tawal village with advanced and specialised equipment," he added.

However, there are no signs of survivors, as per reports. Rescue workers in Iran continued their search on ground on Sunday for the helicopter carrying nine people including the Iranian President and Foreign Minister, after it went missing in the mountainous terrain, state media reported.

A total of 65 rescue teams, including those from the Iranian armed forces, had been deployed to East Azerbaijan Province in Iran's northwest, where the helicopter has been located. 

(With inputs from IANS)