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All passengers are feared to have succumbed in the helicopter crash carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and the country's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, Reuters reported citing an Iranian official on Monday.

"President Raisi's helicopter was completely burned in the crash [...] unfortunately, all passengers are feared dead," the official said.

"We can see the wreckage and the situation does not look good," the head of Iran’s Red Crescent, Pirhossein Kolivand, told state TV.

The helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his foreign minister crashed on Sunday, as it was crossing a mountain terrain in heavy fog, an Iranian official told Reuters.

Iranian state media said bad weather caused the crash and was complicating rescue efforts. State news agency IRNA said Raisi was flying in a US-made Bell 212 helicopter.

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

Besides the president and FM, Governor of East Azarbaijan Province Malek Rahmati, Tabriz Friday prayer leader Hojjatoleslam Al Hashem and a number of



others were also on board the crashed helicopter, IRNA said.

The state TV said bad weather was the cause of the crash and was complicating rescue efforts. The chief of staff of Iran's army ordered all the resources of the army and the elite Revolutionary Guard to be put to use in search and rescue operations.

IRNA had earlier stopped all its regular programming to show prayers being held for Raisi across the country and, in a corner of the screen, live coverage of rescue teams deployed on foot in the mountainous area in heavy fog.

Sunday's accident happened in the mountainous protected forest area of Dizmar near the town of Varzaghan, said the official IRNA news agency.
Raisi was visiting East Azerbaijan province where he inaugurated a dam project together with his Azeri counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, on the border between the two countries.

His convoy included three helicopters, and the other two had "reached their destination safely," according to Tasnim news agency.

The reformist Shargh daily also reported that "the helicopter carrying the president crashed" while two other helicopters landed safely.




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