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Iran president’s helicopter crashes: Teams mobilize after Turkish drone detects heat source

Iranian authorities on Monday dispatched rescue teams to the crashed helicopter carrying Ebrahim Raisi after Turkish drone Akinci identified a heat source in the crash area, Iran-based news network Press TV reported.

According to Turkish news agency Anadolu, an Akinci UAV identified a source of heat suspected to be the wreckage of the helicopter carrying Iranian President Raisi and shared its coordinates with Iranian authorities.

Iranian authorities also sent troops to the site, in hopes of locating the crash site, where rescuers reported the smell of fuel, Iran-based Press TV reported.

But later, Tasnim News reported that the smell of car fuel was mistaken for helicopter fuel. Additionally, Russian search and rescue aircraft are en route to the northwestern Iranian city of Tabriz.

The head of the Red Crescent Society said, “The smell of the fuel was the smell of cars, and our colleagues mistook the smell of car fuel for the smell of helicopter fuel!”

The Iran Red Crescent said more than 70 search and rescue teams were present near the site of President Raisi’s helicopter crash.

Iran requested Turkey’s assistance in searching for the Iranian president’s helicopter, CNN reported, citing the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Ministry. Iran requested a night vision search and rescue helicopter, the ministry said.

According to the ministry, Turkey sent six vehicles and 32 mountaineer search and rescue personnel to Iran.

The helicopter, which crashed in northwestern Iran on Sunday, was carrying nine people, including three officers, an imam and members of the flight and security crew, Tasnim news reported.

Sepah, an IRGC-run media outlet, reported that the nine included: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian; East Azerbaijan Province Governor Malek Rahmati, Tabriz’s Friday prayer imam Mohammad Ali Alehashem, as well as a pilot, co-pilot, crew chief, security chief and another bodyguard.

After the news of the crash of President Raisi’s helicopter, many countries have come forward to help in the ongoing search operation.

Russia has announced it will send special aircraft and 50 professional mountain rescue teams to the site in northern Iran where a helicopter crashed on Sunday, CNN reported, citing Iranian state news agency IRNA.

Meanwhile, people in Iran have come together in prayer for the well-being of President Raisi. Along with gatherings in the holy city of Mashhad, President Raisi’s birthplace, prayer services were held in mosques and temples across the country, attended by thousands of people, Press TV Iran reported.

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