Haunting Final Photo Shows Ebrahim Raisi Aboard Doomed Helicopter Moments Before Crash as Iran Confirms President's Death

Mohammad Mokhber, 68, Iran's first vice president, would assume the role of interim president upon Raisi's death.

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Iranian state media released haunting images showing president Ebrahim Raisi calmly sitting inside his helicopter shortly before it went down in a remote mountainous region on Sunday afternoon. One image shows Raisi pensively staring forward in his seat, while an unidentified state official seated across from him gazes out the window of the ill-fated helicopter.

This came as rescuers located the helicopter on Monday that had been carrying Raisi, the foreign minister, and other officials, which had crashed in the mountainous northwest of Iran the previous day, though "no signs of life were found," state media said. Raisi has been confirmed dead after authorities said. He was 63 years old.

Haunting Final Images

Ebrahim Raisi
Ebrahim Raisi seen on the doomed helicopter moments before it crashed killing all nine people on board X

Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Governor of Eastern Azerbaijan province Malek Rahmati, Tabriz's Friday prayer Imam Mohammad Ali Alehashem, along with a pilot, copilot, crew chief, head of security, and another bodyguard, were all on board, according to Iranian media. All nine people have been declared dead.

"President Raisi, the foreign minister and all the passengers in the helicopter were killed in the crash," a senior Iranian official told Reuters.

Ebrahim Raisi
Drone image of the helicopter at the crash site carrying Ebrahim Raisi X

As the sun rose on Monday, rescuers spotted the helicopter from a distance of around 1.25 miles, according to Pir Hossein Kolivand, the head of the Iranian Red Crescent Society, speaking to state media.

An Iranian official reported that after search teams located the wreckage, "no sign of life" was detected, and the situation did not look promising. Drone footage from the crash site was also observed.

Mohammad Mokhber, 68, Iran's first vice president, would assume the role of interim president upon Raisi's death.

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

Early Monday morning, Turkish authorities released drone footage showing what appeared to be a fire in the wilderness, which they suspected to be the wreckage of the helicopter.

According to the coordinates listed in the footage, the fire was located approximately 12 miles south of the Azerbaijan-Iranian border on the side of a steep mountain.

End of the Search

State media reported that Russia, an ally, is sending a 50-man specialist mountain rescue unit to assist with the search. The Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations confirmed this in a Telegram post. According to Iran's Red Crescent, around 73 teams, along with detector dogs, are involved in the rescue efforts.

Ebrahim Raisi
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi X

Raisi was last seen staring out of the window of the aircraft, which was flying in Iran's East Azerbaijan province near Jolfa, around 375 miles northwest of Tehran, when it crashed.

The official said that rain and a lack of roads were hampering rescue attempts.

The mysterious crash immediately escalated tensions worldwide. Iran, a major sponsor of Hamas, which has been under relentless attack in Gaza since launching attacks on Israel on October 7, is also a weapons supplier to Russia in its war on Ukraine.

Some Moscow propagandists linked the president's disappearance to the attempted assassination of pro-Kremlin Slovakian leader Robert Fico last week.

Ebrahim Raisi, Iran president-elect
Ebrahim Raisi Wikimedia Commons

The Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs thanked "numerous" nations and organizations for their help in the effort.