Iranian President Raisi Confirmed Dead in Helicopter Crash

Mick West

Staff member
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was killed along with the country’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in a helicopter crash on Sunday in the country’s remote northwest, state news media has confirmed.

Original first post:
Iran's Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi has confirmed that a helicopter carrying President Ebrahim Raeisi makes a hard landing in the city of Jolfa in the northwestern Iranian province of East Azarbaijan.
The helicopter was transporting President Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, East Azarbaijan Governor Malek Rahmati, and several other passengers when it encountered difficulties and was forced to make a "hard landing" near Jolfa, a city bordering the nation of Azerbaijan.
The incident happened at Dizmar forest, between the cities of Varzaqan and Jolfa.
One hour after the incident, rescue teams reached the area and started search operations.
Authorities said bad weather conditions had made it difficult for rescue teams from the Iranian Red Crescent Society to reach the area.
Drone units are also assisting with the emergency operation.
Two other helicopters carrying a number of ministers and officials reached the destination safely.

It's still unclear if there are any injuries or deaths, but from the description, the Helicopter crashed and they can't find it. This is already being portrayed as a possible assasination attempt by Israel. Regardless of the cause, it's a significant event.

Raeisi is considered an international war criminal for his role in the execution or "disappearing" of thousands of political prisoners in 1988 (Wikipedia), and is unpopular with a lot of the more progressive people in Iran. He's considered the leading candidate for the next Supreme Leader of Iran, so if he's dead it might prompt significant local changes.

Iran is also a key ally for Russia, supplying arms for the war in Ukraine.
Last edited:
It is an interesting situation and no real updates yet.

I hope for a less reactionary country for Iran. The people seem to want moderation.
"bad weather" means thick fog, according to German ZDF news. This bodes ill both for the rescue, as well as for the pilot of the accident helicopter finding a suitable place for an emergency landing in the first place.

Typically, a civilian aircraft would have an emergency locator transmitter, a distress beacon that gets triggered by a crash landing and then repeats an emergency message including its location via radio. But they're not fail-proof, and I don't know if that heli had one.
The terrain in the area is mountainous, thus harder to find a chopper. Here's a picture from the area. (Google earth):
State TV said what it called a “hard landing” happened near Jolfa, a city on the border with the nation of Azerbaijan, some 600 kilometres (375 miles) northwest of the Iranian capital, Tehran. Later, state TV put it farther east near the village of Uzi, but details remained contradictory.

Early Monday morning, Turkish authorities released what they described as drone footage showing what appeared to be a fire in the wilderness that they “suspected to be wreckage of helicopter.” Iranian rescuers rushed to the site, state TV reported. The coordinates listed in the footage put the fire some 20 kilometres (12 miles) south of the Azerbaijan-Iranian border.


The fire could be caused by the crash, or have been lit by the survivors.
(18:10 GMT)

Search team lead remains hopeful as contact was made with helicopter

One of the officials on Raisi’s helicopter and a member of the flight crew made contact after the helicopter suffered the incident, according to Mohsen Mansouri, the deputy to the president for executive affairs.

“This was one of the hopeful points in this. This shows that the severity of the incident was not very high because two of the people who were on the flight contacted our people on several instances,” the official, who is leading the search at the site, told state television.

(19:23 GMT)

Armed forces received signals from crash site: Report

Signals have been reportedly detected by the armed forces from the helicopter and the mobile phone of a member of the flight crew.

“We are now moving toward the area with all military forces and I hope we can give good news to the people,” Asghar Abbasgholizadeh, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Eastern Azerbaijan, was quoted as saying by Tasnim.

“The area no longer has capacity for more forces.”
Some bunk was seen, as is generally the case in developing situations, e.g.
An initial report by the state-linked Mehr news website said Raisi had opted to travel to Tabriz by car due to the foggy weather conditions, and that he was safe.
Content from External Source
I also saw premature reports of the helicopter having been found.

From the fact that there is no news about the condition of the president despite several contacts, I deduce that he's not well.

A "hard landing" in a helicopter suggests an autorotation landing. Put simply, when a helicopter engine fails, the pilot pulls the clutch and lets the main rotor spin freely. That way, the blades still provide lift while the descent keeps them spinning. Much like an acorn seed trundling from a tree, this slows the fall substantially. Ideally, the autorotation landing involves a well-timed "flare", where the rotational energy of the rotor is shed moments before touchdown to provide a maximum of lift. In training, autorotation landings typically leave the helicopter undamaged.
However, if it is hard to see the ground due to fog, timing the "flare" correctly is difficult: too early, and the blades lose lift while the helicopter is still in the air, and it falls down in a Wile E. Coyote moment; too late obviously results in a hard impact with the ground.

Of course, in fog or low clouds, helicopters sometimes fly into mountains, like Kobe Bryant's pilot did in 2020.

What I'd like to know is whether those 3 helicopters were travelling in a group. If they were, the sensible thing to do would have been for them to look for the missing helicopter immediately to ascertain its location and condition, unless they suspected an attack.
Last edited:

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi in helicopter crash with ‘no sign’ of life​

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi is feared dead after search and rescue teams found the wreckage of the helicopter he was travelling in with “no signs of life”.
New drone footage of the wreckage, captured by Iran’s Red Crescent Society and featured on state media FARS News Agency, revealed the crash site situated on a steep, forested hillside. Little remained of the helicopter except for a blue and white tail.
Content from External Source

Claimed to be Raisi 212 Bell chopper same color as wreckage


(04:33 GMT)

Iranian President Raisi dies with other occupants of helicopter

Raisi and Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian, along with others who were on board the helicopter that crashed, have died, multiple Iranian news agencies have confirmed.

Looking at the drone picture, it might have been a post-crash fire, with a chance for the passengers to evacuate. But apparently, the rescuers have reached the site, and the occupants were beyond rescue.
Last edited:
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
The blame game is up and running:

The Associated Press reports:
IRNA said the crash killed eight people in all, including three crew members, aboard the Bell helicopter, which Iran purchased in the early 2000s.
Aircraft in Iran face a shortage of parts, often flying without safety checks against the backdrop of Western sanctions. Because of that, former Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sought to blame the United States for the crash in an interview Monday..
“One of the main culprits of yesterday’s tragedy is the United States, which … embargoed the sale of aircraft and aviation parts to Iran and does not allow the people of Iran to enjoy good aviation facilities,” Zarif said. “These will be recorded in the list of US crimes against the Iranian people.”
Raisi won Iran’s 2021 presidential election, a vote that saw the lowest turnout in the Islamic Republic’s history. He was sanctioned by the U.S. in part over his involvement in the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988 at the end of the bloody Iran-Iraq war.
Content from External Source