Iran helicopter crash: President Ebrahim Raisi dies

03.01PM - First official state funeral expected tomorrow

The dead bodies are being transferred to the city of Tabriz where the president’s helicopter was heading towards before crashing.

Once the bodies arrive in Tabriz, there will be an autopsy.

We are expecting the first official state funeral to take place in Tabriz tomorrow.  After that, the bodies are expected to be transferred to the country’s capital, Tehran, where state dignitaries and people will pay their respects.

Then, we are expecting the bodies to be transferred to the city of Mashhad for two reasons: first, it was the hometown of President Ebrahim Raisi who was born and raised there and his political career started there; and secondly, the city of Mashhad is the most important religious centre in Iran.

We are expecting the burial ceremony to take place also in Mashhad.

02.24PM - Hezbollah mourns ‘great brother’ Raisi

The Lebanese armed group issued a statement offering its “deepest condolences” to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the Iranian people.

“We have known His Eminence the martyr president closely for a long time, so he was a great brother to us, a strong support, and a steadfast defender of our causes and the causes of the nation, foremost among them being Jerusalem and Palestine, and a guardian of the resistance movements and their fighters in all the positions of responsibility he held,” the statement said.

02.19 PM - Ali Bagheri Kani appointed as Iran’s Acting Foreign Minister

The cabinet of Iran has appointed Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani as acting foreign minister following the death of Hossein Amirabdollahian.

He has served as deputy foreign minister since September 2021.

Kani was deputy secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council between 2007 and 2013.

02.10PM - Iran declares five-day mourning for President Raisi

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced on Monday five days of mourning for President Ebrahim Raisi who died in a helicopter crash.

“I announce five days of public mourning and offer my condolences to the dear people of Iran,” said Khamenei in an official statement a day after the death of Raisi and other officials in the crash in East Azerbaijan province.

01.30PM - Lebanon begins 3 days of national mourning

Lebanon on Monday announced three days of national mourning for the Iranian president and foreign minister, who were killed in a helicopter crash overnight near the Azerbaijan border.

Lebanon's armed group Hezbollah had also offered its condolences for the pair.

12.50 PM - What are world leaders saying?

International leaders have begun sharing their reactions to the news that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has died. Here's what they're saying:

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has posted on X saying he is "deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic demise" of President Raisi and his nation "stands with Iran" during this "time of sorrow"
  • Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said Raisi's death is a "terrible loss" and his nation would observe a day of mourning
  • President of the United Arab Emirates Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan says his country stands with Iran during this time, Reuters news agency reports
  • While President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela has praised President Raisi as an unconditional friend and an extraordinary leader

12.40PM - Hamas shared feelings of sadness and pain

The statement conveyed Hamas' "deepest condolences and solidarity" to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the Iranian government, and the Iranian people for "this immense loss."

It praised the deceased Iranian leaders for supporting the Palestinian cause and resistance against Israel and expressed confidence that Iran's "deep-rooted institutions" will enable it to overcome "the repercussions of this great loss."

12.21 PM - Dead bodies of President Raisi, companions transported to Tabriz

Iran President News LIVE: Photo shows rescue team carrying dead bodies of helicopter crash victims.

The head of the Islamic Republic Red Crescent Society (IRCS) has announced that the dead bodies of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions are being transported to Tabriz, northwest Iran.

The large-scale search and rescue operation ended as the dead bodies were sent to a place in East Azarbaijan province where the martyrs of Tabriz are buried, Pir Hossein Kolivand said in televised remarks on Monday.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Iranian cabinet noted that the popular president of Iran, Ayatollah Raisi, has been martyred on the birth anniversary of Imam Reza (AS), the eighth Shia Imam. He was to return to Tehran from Tabriz, where he attended an opening ceremony on a joint Iran-Azerbaijan dam project.



12.18 PM - Iran’s supreme Leader pays tribute to Raisi

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has posted a tribute to President Ebrahim Raisi following his death in a helicopter crash.

In a post on X, the supreme leader posted a photo of him and Raisi with a brief message referring to Imam Reza, the eighth imam of Shia Islam and a revered figure in Iran.

Raisi’s remains are now being transported to the city of Tabriz.

It is still unclear when and where Raisi will be buried.

12.05PM - What do we know about the crashed helicopter?

  • Bell Helicopter (now Bell Textron) developed the aircraft in the late 1960s as an upgrade of the original UH-1 Iroquois for the Canadian military.
  • The new design used two turboshaft engines instead of one, giving it greater carrying capacity.
  • According to US military training documents, the helicopter was introduced in 1971 and quickly adopted by both the United States and Canada.
  • The craft is designed to carry aerial firefighting gear and cargo and to mount weapons.
  • This particular helicopter had been reconfigured to carry 15 people, including a pilot.
  • Sanctions have made it difficult for Iran to obtain parts or new aircraft.
  • The most recent fatal crash of a Bell 212 was in September 2023, when a privately operated aircraft crashed off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, according to the Flight Safety Foundation, a non-profit focusing on aviation safety.

11.33 - Vice President Mohammad Mokhber will assume powers after Raisi’s death.

Iran's First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber

According to the Iranian Constitution, in case of the president’s death or incapacity, the first vice president will take over until an election is held within a maximum period of 50 days.

11.05 - Who are the other officials killed in the helicopter crash?

Several senior Iranian officials were also killed alongside Raisi in the helicopter crash in the Dizmar forest, located between the cities of Varzaqan and Jolfa in East Azerbaijan province.

The officials include:

Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian
East Azerbaijan Governor Malek Rahmati
Representative of the Iranian supreme leader in East Azerbaijan Mohammad Ali Ale-Hashem
Head of presidential guard Mehdi Mousavi
The helicopter’s pilot, co-pilot and crew

10.30 - Iran's government convenes urgent meeting

Iran's government convened an "urgent meeting" on Monday following the announcement that President Ebrahim Raisi and the country's foreign minister were among those who died in a helicopter crash, according to Iranian state news agency IRNA.

The chair that Raisi usually sits in was vacant, and was draped with a black sash in memory of the president, according to a photo shared by state news.

The timing and details of a mourning procession will be announced in the future, state media FARS News Agency reported.

09.40 - Mehr News Agency says Raisi, Amirabdollahian killed in crash

The semi-official news agency reports that the Iranian president, foreign minister and other occupants of the helicopter, including East Azerbaijan Province Governor Malek Rahmati, have been “martyred”.

There is still no official confirmation that Raisi is dead, but medics have said that they found “no signs” of life at the crash site.

09.26 - Rescue teams pictured during search for president's helicopter

Rescuers with the Iranian Red Crescent Society are pictured at an unknown location as they search for the crash site of a helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

The aircraft was an American made Bell 212 helicopter and is believed to have crashed into a mountain in Iran as a result of bad weather as Mr Raisi returned from a meeting with the leader of Azerbaijan.

Rescue teams fought blizzards and difficult terrain through the night to reach the wreckage in East Azerbaijan province in the early hours of Monday. 

09.16 - Iranian President Raisi and the officials accompanying him are feared dead after the Red Crescent says it has found “no signs of the helicopter’s occupants being alive” at the crash site.


08.17 - Iranian official says 'expectations low' for president to be alive as rescuers locate helicopter - report

Reuters news agency reports that an Iranian official has said "expectations are low" that the Iranian president will be found alive after his helicopter crashed.

Rescuers have located the aircraft that was carrying Ebrahim Raisi, an official has told Iranian state television. 

The head of the Iranian Red Crescent Society, Pir Hossein Kolivand, said rescue teams were around 1.25 miles away from the crash site.

06.47 - Turkish drone locates heat source in Iranian mountains

A Turkish drone has located a heat source in the Iranian mountains they believe could be the location of the helicopter crash site.

News agency Anadolu reported that the coordinates of the source had been shared with the Iranian authorities.

04.03 - Iranian foreign ministry thanks 'governments and nations for solidarity'

The Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Iran has issued a statement: "On Sunday afternoon, a helicopter carrying the President, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and several companions unfortunately had an accident in the Varzaghan region of East Azerbaijan province.

"Despite adverse weather and environmental conditions, efforts by rescue teams to reach the accident site continue earnestly and with hope.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran sincerely thanks the numerous governments, nations, and international organizations for their expressions of human emotion and solidarity with the government and people of Iran, as well as their offers of help and assistance for the search and rescue operation."

03.23 - Rescue crews have yet to find crash site of Iranian president's helicopter, official says 

Rescue crews haven't yet located the crash site of the helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the head of Iran’s Red Crescent Society, Pir-Hossein Koulivand, told Iranian state TV IRINN.

Earlier, a military commander said the aircraft's exact location had been detected through a signal from the helicopter and a mobile phone of a crew member, according to state news agency IRNA.

The crews are still searching around where the signals were detected, Koulivand said. 

Harsh weather conditions and heavy fog have made the search for the crash site very difficult. It is now just after 1 a.m. local time in the remote, mountainous province.

02.48- Russia is sending two planes

Russia is sending two planes, two helicopters and 50 rescuers to assist in operation over helicopter crash involving Iran's president

02.25 - People pray for Iranian president

In downtown Tehran, crowds of people have gathered to pray for the safe return of the Iranian president. 

A ceremony has been held at Vali-e-Asr Square, and state media has been broadcasting prayers since this afternoon. 

Images of hundreds of people, some with their hands outstretched, praying at Imam Reza Shrine in the city of Mashhad, one of Shiite Islam's holiest sites, as well as in Qom and other locations across the country, have also been shown. 

01.41: In pictures: Latest scenes from the search site

Here are some of the latest photos from the helicopter search site in Varzaqan, East Azerbaijan Province...


1.15 - Hamas release statement after 'painful incident'

Hamas has released a statement following the Iranian president's helicopter crash. 

The militant group, which is based in Gaza but backed by Iran, said it was following reports of the incident with "great concern". 

Describing the incident as "painful", it said it was in "complete solidarity" Iran. 

"We ask the God Almighty to protect the Iranian president and his accompanying delegation and to keep the brotherly Iranian people away from all harm and evil," it added.

01.00 - Iranian president and foreign minister are still missing

The Iranian president and foreign minister are still missing after their helicopter crashed during a flight back from Azerbaijan. 

Ebrahim Raisi and Hossein Amirabdollahian were travelling in one of three helicopters that were travelling as part of a convoy. 

The other two have reportedly made it to their destination safely. 

Iran flies a variety of helicopters in the country, but international sanctions make it difficult to obtain parts for them.

Its military air fleet largely dates back to before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. 

Fog hampers rescue efforts for Iranian president after helicopter crash

00.19- Turkey sending search and rescue equipment to Iran

Turkey is sending search and rescue equipment to help find the Iranian president and foreign minister. 

Its disaster agency said it received a request for assistance from Iran following Ebrahim Raisi's helicopter crash earlier today. 

23.58 - Turkey says it will send night vision rescue helicopter to aid Iran in its search

Iran has requested assistance from Turkey in the search for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's crashed helicopter, the Turkish disaster and emergency management ministry said Sunday.

Iran requested a night vision search and rescue helicopter, the ministry said. 

Turkey is also sending six vehicles and 32 mountaineer search and rescue personnel to Iran, according to the ministry.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on X that his government is "following the incident closely, in full contact and coordination with the Iranian authorities."

"On behalf of my nation, I convey my get well wishes to our neighbor, friend and brother Iranian people and government, and I hope to receive good news from Mr. President and his delegation as soon as possible," Erdoğan added.

23.50 - Turkish president 'deeply saddened' by helicopter crash

Turkey's president has said he is "deeply saddened" by the helicopter crash involving his "brother" Ebrahim Raisi. 

Writing on X, Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey was in full contact with the Iranian authorities and stood ready to provide any necessary support. 

23:30 - It's nearly midnight in the frigid mountains where the Iranian president's helicopter crashed

It's now past 11:30 p.m. local time in the remote, mountainous region where the Iranian president's helicopter crashed this afternoon.

It has been approximately 10 hours since authorities lost contact with President Ebrahim Raisi's helicopter in the country's East Azerbaijan Province, where dense fog hindered search efforts during the day. Iran's semi-official Tasnim news agency warned that extreme cold would only hinder the search further as night fell.

The overnight low temperature in the nearest city of Tabriz will be in the low 50s on Sunday. It's difficult to obtain precise weather data from the remote mountains where the crash took place, but temperatures there will dip closer to freezing, according to CNN meteorologists.

Iranian officials say they have located the exact crash site and are sending teams there. Earlier, authorities managed to make contact with two people who had been aboard the aircraft, according to a government spokesperson.

23.47 - Conflicting reports over Iranian president's helicopter being found

public to pray for Raisi and the others on board as rescue crews sped through a misty, rural forest where his helicopter was believed to be. 

In the last few moments, conflicting reports have emerged with some suggesting the Iranian helicopter's crashed helicopter has been found. 

Reuters news agency quoted state media as saying Ebrahim Raisi's chopper was discovered by search and rescue teams. 

It did not detail where it was found, or if any survivors have been located.

But moments later, Iran's Red Crescent denied the report. 

23.45 Iranian president's helicopter found - state media

The Iranian president's helicopter has been found, state media has reported. 

It said Ebrahim Raisi's chopper was discovered by search and rescue teams. 

It has not detailed where it was found, or if any survivors have been located.

23.36 - 'There will be no disturbances' - Iran's supreme leader seeks to reassure public

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has sought to reassure the public following the helicopter crash involving Ebrahim Raisi. 

"We hope that God the almighty returns the dear president and his colleagues in full health to the arms of the nation," he told state TV. 

23.22 - Contact made with passenger and crew member, says Iranian official

Contact has been made with a passenger and a crew member of the Iranian president's helicopter, an official has told state TV. 

The unnamed official said contact has been made on several occasions. 

23.15 - European Commission activates satellite mapping service to help search for Raisi

The European Commission has activated its satellite mapping service to help look for Iran's president. 

Crisis management commissioner Janez Lenarcic said on X that the service was turning on its "rapid response mapping service in view of the helicopter accident." 

23.02 Rescue teams experiencing 'difficult and complicated conditions'

Rescuers have not reached the crash site of a helicopter carrying Iran's president and foreign minister, according to an Iranian government spokesperson.

22.38 - Pakistan's prime minister 'waiting with great anxiety' for update

Pakistan's prime minister says he is "waiting with great anxiety" for a positive update after Ebrahim Raisi's helicopter crash. "Our prayers and best wishes are with Hon President Raisi and the entire Iranian nation," he adds. 

22.03 - President of Azerbaijan 'seriously worried' after news of helicopter crash

The president of Azerbaijan has said he was "seriously worried" after hearing about Ebrahim Raisi's helicopter crash. 
Ilham Aliyev had met the Iranian president earlier today for the inauguration of a dam in Azerbaijan.

21.56 - Questions about 'foul play' will inevitably be asked, says expert

The cause of Ebrahim Raisi's helicopter crash is still unknown, and there are several possible reasons it may have been forced to make a hard landing. 

21.56- Iraq offers help in search and rescue operation

Iraq has offered to help Iran in its search and rescue operation, its government has said. 
Iraq's interior ministry, the Red Crescent and other relevant bodies have been instructed to offer their services, it added in a statement. 

21.37- US 'closely watching' reports of helicopter crash

The US is "closely watching" reports of the helicopter crash involving Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, a US State Department spokesperson has said. 

21.18 - All army resources utilised for search and rescue operations - state media

Iran's army chief of staff has ordered the utilisation of all its resources to help in the search and rescue operations related to Ebrahim Raisi's helicopter crash, state media has reported. 

Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi's 'life is at risk' after he was involved in a helicopter crash near the border with Azerbaijan.

A frantic search mission is underway after the aircraft, which was traveling in Iran's East Azerbaijan province near Jolfa, around 375 miles northwest of Tehran, suffered a 'hard landing' on Sunday, according to Iranian state television.

The helicopter was one of a convoy of three and foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, Friday prayer Imam Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Al-Hashem and other high-ranking officials were also reportedly on the helicopter with the president.
The lives of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian are at risk following the crash over mountain terrain, an Iranian official told Reuters.

All army and Iranian guard resources are being utilized in the search efforts for the helicopter. 

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