Iran used domestic drones to locate Raisi’s helicopter

Iran used domestic drones to locate Raisi’s helicopter
Iran used domestic drones to locate Raisi’s helicopter

By Le Figaro with AFP

Published
1 hour ago,

Update 23 minutes ago

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The Iranian armed forces announced Wednesday that they had used domestic drones to locate President Ebrahim Raisi’s helicopter after its deadly crash in northwest Iran. Monday at dawn, “the exact location of the accident was discovered by ground rescue forces and Iranian armed forces drones”indicated the latter in a press release reviewing the searches carried out after the disappearance of the helicopter which transported the president and seven other people.

Rescue operations were launched early Sunday afternoon to find the trace of the aircraft, an American-designed Bell 212, which had disappeared in a mountainous and wooded area in difficult weather conditions. When the disappearance was announced, neighboring Turkey offered its help and dispatched a drone equipped with night vision equipment. But “this drone failed to accurately determine the location of the accident and ultimately returned to Turkey”, specifies the press release from the armed forces, published by the official Irna agency. Iranian drones were used after being dispatched from southern Iran where they were on a mission, he said. Armed Forces Chief of Staff Mohammad Bagheri on Monday ordered an investigation into the causes of the crash.

“We repeatedly failed to establish radio contact”

In an interview on state television, the presidential chief of staff, Gholam Hossein Esmaili, recounted the circumstances of the accident as he experienced them from one of the delegation’s three helicopters. On takeoff, “the weather was clear, there was nothing to worry about”. After half an hour, however, the pilot of the presidential helicopter ordered the three aircraft to “rise above a cloudy area” which had formed. After having obeyed, without having felt the slightest turbulence, “our pilot suddenly realized that the helicopter carrying the president had disappeared”testified Mr. Raïssi’s collaborator.

With no response, the pilot then turned around and circled above the area “Many times”but the cloud layer prevented us from seeing the ground. “We repeatedly failed to establish radio contact” with the president’s helicopter.

The pilot then decided to land in a copper mine to “investigate” on the missing device. “After several attempts” calls, one of the eight passengers, Ayatollah Hachem, the imam of Tabriz, answered. “He told us: ‘I don’t feel well’ and indicated that he was ‘alone’ and didn’t know where he was.”. “We then formed a team to go look for them and requested immediate emergency help”he added.

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