Iran says used own drones to locate Raisi's helicopter

Search operation was launched involving EU, Russia, Turkey to locate chopper carrying Iranian president

AFP May 22, 2024
Rescue team works following a crash of a helicopter carrying Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi, in Varzaqan, East Azerbaijan Province, Iran, May 20, 2024. (Reuters)


The Iranian military said Wednesday that it had used domestically produced drones to locate the helicopter of President Ebrahim Raisi after it crashed in the northwestern mountains.

Raisi's helicopter came down on a fog-shrouded mountainside on Sunday as it returned to the city of Tabriz from a ceremony on the border with Azerbaijan.

A huge search and rescue operation was launched, involving help from the European Union, Russia and Turkey before the crash site was located early on Monday.

The Iranian military said that a drone dispatched by Turkey had failed to locate the crash site "despite having night-vision equipment"

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"This drone failed to accurately announce the location of the helicopter crash and finally returned to Turkey," the military said in a statement carried by the official IRNA news agency.

"Finally, in the early hours of Monday morning, the exact spot of the helicopter crash was discovered by the ground rescue forces and Iranian drones of the armed forces."

Armed forces chief Mohammad Bagheri has ordered an investigation into the cause of the crash, which also killed seven members of Raisi's entourage, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.


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