A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raïssi remained unreachable after having to make an emergency “hard landing” in a mountainous and rural area near the border between Iran and Azerbaijan on Sunday May 19. Emergency services have not yet been able to reach the location where the device is located, while the weather is very cloudy according to initial images of the operation broadcast by the ISNA press agency.

Ebrahim Raïssi met his counterpart Ilham Aliev on Sunday morning on the occasion of the inauguration of a dam on the Araxe River, near the Iranian prefecture of Khoda Afarin, along the border with Azerbaijan. On the return trip, as the convoy headed toward the city of Tabriz, where the president was to visit an oil refinery, one of the planes made an emergency “hard landing,” according to several media outlets, including Tasnim News and Jam Jam Online. The two other helicopters in the presidential convoy were able to continue their journey without incident.

In addition to Ebrahim Raïssi, the presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amir Abdollahian and the governor of the East Azerbaijan region, Malik Rahmati, as well as several other people in the helicopter is mentioned by several Iranian media. The Minister of the Interior, Ahmad Vahidi, confirmed these first elements on television. On the Khabar channel, Mr. Vahidi declared that he was awaiting the arrival of help in the landing zone, whose progress was hampered by very cloudy weather – which seems to be confirmed by the first images broadcast, at the television, by the ISNA agency.

He also said that communication had been established with the device, but that exchanges remained very difficult in the region. According to the ISNA agency, the landing would have taken place in the vicinity of the Dizmar forest, a rural and mountainous area which borders the border between Iran and Azerbaijan. The Fars news agency relayed, on Sunday afternoon, the first calls to prayer for the Iranian president in the city of Mashhad.