Local media has shared multiple images of what appeared to be the wreckage of the aircraft.

Dubai: Iranian state media said President Ebrahim Raisi died on Monday after his helicopter crashed in a mountainous region of the country.

Rescue teams had been scouring the area since Sunday afternoon after a helicopter carrying Raisi, the foreign minister and other officials had gone missing.

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Rescue teams had been scouring the area since Sunday afternoon after a helicopter carrying Raisi, the foreign minister and other officials had gone missing.

Early Monday, relief workers located the missing helicopter, with state TV saying the president had died.

"The servant of Iranian nation, Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi has achieved the highest level of martyrdom whilst serving the people," state television said Monday, with Mehr news agency also saying he was dead.


Here is what we know so far:

What happened?

On Sunday, Iranian state television had reported that a helicopter carrying Raisi had been in an accident in the Jolfa region of East Azerbaijan province amid poor weather conditions.

The accident happened in the mountainous protected forest area of Dizmar near the town of Varzaghan, according to the official IRNA news agency.

Early Monday, Iran's Red Crescent chief Pirhossein Koolivand said rescue teams had located the helicopter and were heading towards the site.

State TV reported that there were "no signs" of life among passengers "as of yet."

Local media has shared multiple images of what appeared to be the wreckage of the aircraft.

Raisi had earlier inaugurated a dam project with his Azeri counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, on the border between the two countries.

Iran's Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi described the accident as a "hard landing due to the weather conditions".

Raisi's convoy comprised three helicopters including two that landed safely in the northwestern city of Tabriz.

Vahidi said it was "difficult to establish communication" with the third helicopter which was carrying Raisi.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was also on board along with the governor of East Azerbaijan and the province's main imam, according to IRNA news agency.

How has Iran responded?

A total of 73 rescue teams were involved in the search, according to the Red Crescent, with IRNA saying search dogs and drones were being used.

Military personnel along with the Revolutionary Guards and the police have also been sent to the area, the army's chief-of-staff Mohammad Bagheri said.

Red Crescent rescue teams were seen on state TV on a steep slope as they attempted approaching the helicopter's location amid thick fog.

What would happen in the event of Raisi's death?

Under Iran's constitution, vice-president Mohmmad Mokhber should take over presidential duties if Raisi's death is officially confirmed.

Presidential elections would then be arranged within 50 days, according to the constitution.

What we know about the crashed helicopter
A Bell 212 helicopter carrying Iran's president and foreign minister crashed on Sunday, according to Iranian state media, as it flew through mountains in heavy fog. All are feared dead, an Iranian official said on Monday as search teams located the wreckage.

The civilian version of the ubiquitous Vietnam War-era UH-1N "Twin Huey," they are in wide use globally by both governments and private operators:

What are the helicopter's origins?

Bell Helicopter (now Bell Textron, a division of Textron Inc ) developed the aircraft for the Canadian military in the late 1960s as an upgrade of the original UH-1 Iroquois. The new design used two turboshaft engines instead of one, giving it greater carrying capacity. The helicopter was introduced in 1971 and quickly adopted by both the United States and Canada, according to US military training documents.

What are its uses?

As a utility helicopter - the UH in its military designation represents those words - the Bell 212 is meant to be adaptable to all sorts of situations, including carrying people, deploying aerial firefighting gear, ferrying cargo and mounting weapons.

The Iranian model that crashed on Sunday was configured to carry government passengers. Bell Helicopter advertises the latest version, the Subaru Bell 412, for police use, medical transport, troop transport, the energy industry and firefighting. According to its type certification documents with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, it can carry 15 people, including the crew.

Which organisations operate the helicopter?

Non-military organisations that fly the Bell 212 include Japan's Coast Guard; law enforcement agencies and fire departments in the United States and many others. It is not clear how many Iran's government operates, but its air force and navy have a total of 10, according to FlightGlobal's 2024 World Air Forces directory.

Have there been other incidents involving the bell 212?

The most recent fatal crash of a Bell 212 was in September 2023, according to the Flight Safety Foundation, a non-profit focusing on aviation safety. The most recent Iranian crash of the type was in 2018, killing four people, according to the organisation's database.