Details about Raisi's helicopter crash revealed in Tehran

the Iranian media

The chief of staff for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has revealed new details about the hours after the presidential helicopter went missing.

Gholam Hossein Esmaili was in one of three helicopters returning from a dam inauguration ceremony.

The helicopter carrying nine people ran into inclement weather on the way back and went missing, prompting an hours-long overnight search in the mountainous region, IRNA reported.

According to Esmaili, on the return flight on May 19, three helicopters took off at around 1 p.m. local time "while weather conditions in the area were normal."

He said the weather conditions in the mountainous region in Varzeghan - were the crash happened - were perfect at the start of the flight. 

"After 45 minutes into the flight, the pilot of President Raisi's helicopter, who was in charge of the convoy, ordered other helicopters to increase altitude to avoid a nearby cloud. However, the president's helicopter, which was flying between the two others, suddenly disappeared," Esmaili said.

Roughly 30 seconds into flying above the clouds, Esmaili said his pilot noticed the helicopter in the middle had disappeared. The pilot circled around to search for the president's helicopter.

The chief of staff said several attempts were made to contact the president's helicopter through radio devices before their helicopter continued its flight and landed at a nearby copper mine. According to him, the pilot of the helicopter he was flying in was unable to decrease altitude because of the clouds. 

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and the head of the president's protection unit, who were in the same chopper as Raisi, did not respond to repeated calls after the helicopter went missing.

"Pilots of the two other helicopters had contacted Captain Mostafavi, who was in charge of the president's helicopter," Esmaili said.

One person alive for three hours: Tabriz's Friday prayer Imam, Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Alehashem, was able to answer the deceased pilot's phone and said the helicopter had crashed into a valley and he was in critical condition, Esmaili added.

Alehashem was alive for at least three hours after the crash and was able to speak to officials multiple times before he died.

The chief of staff said after they found the location of the crashed helicopter, it was clear from the condition of the bodies of Raisi, Abdollahian and others that they "had died instantly." 

© Photo :the Iranian media
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