Middle-East

Iran President helicopter crash: European Commission activates satellite mapping service to help with search

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The European Commission is activating satellite mapping service to aid search efforts after Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's helicopter crashed, following a request for assistance from Iran, the European commissioner for crisis management said.

The European Commission's Copernicus Emergency Management Service provides mapping products based on satellite imagery.

Crisis management commissioner Janez Lenarcic said on X that the service was activating its "rapid response mapping service in view of the helicopter accident."

A helicopter carrying Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi takes off, near the Iran-Azerbaijan border, on May 19, 2024. (Photo: Ali Hamed Haghdoust/IRNA/West Asia News Agency/Reuters)

Earlier, Saudi Arabia expressed its support for Iran and said it was ready to provide any assistance required after a helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi crashed on Sunday.

The Saudi foreign ministry also said the kingdom was following reports about the crash with "great concern", according to the Saudi state news agency.

Earlier, the Turkish Foreign ministry said it was monitoring the helicopter accident with sadness and that it had taken action to support search and rescue operations.

People follow the news of a crash of a helicopter carrying Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi, on a TV in a shop in Tehran, Iran, on May 19, 2024. (Photo: Majid Asgaripour/WANA/Reuters)

Turkey hoped for the president's well-being.

"We hope that the Iranian officials, including Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, are safe and healthy," it said in a statement.

Via social media platform X, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he was saddened by the accident and that his country was in full contact with the Iranian authorities, ready to provide any necessary support.

"I convey my best wishes to our neighbour, friend and brother Iranian people and government, and I hope to receive good news from Mr Raisi and his delegation as soon as possible," Erdogan said in a post on

Saudi Arabia also expressed its support for Iran and said it was ready to provide any assistance.

The Saudi foreign ministry said the kingdom was following reports about the crash with "great concern", according to the Saudi state news agency.

Rescue team works follow the crash of a helicopter carrying Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi, in Varzaqan, East Azerbaijan Province, Iran, on May 19, 2024. (Photo: Azin Haghighi/Moj News Agency/WANA/Reuters)

Other reactions

Russia: Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told RIA news agency on Sunday that Russia was ready to extend help to Iran.

"Russia is ready to extend all necessary help in the search for the missing helicopter and the investigation of the reasons for the incident," RIA quoted her as saying.

Qatar: Qatar said it was ready to provide "all forms of support" for Iran's search efforts via a statement from the Foreign ministry.

US State Department: "We are closely following reports of a possible hard landing of a helicopter in Iran carrying the Iranian president and foreign minister," a State Department spokesperson said in a statement.

US President Joe Biden: A spokesperson for President Biden, Karine Jean-Pierre, told reporters aboard Air Force One that the president had been briefed on the situation. She did not elaborate.

Azeri President Ilham Aliyev: (Raisi was returning from Iran's border with Azerbaijan when his helicopter crashed).

"Today, after bidding a friendly farewell to the (visiting) President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, we were profoundly troubled by the news of a helicopter carrying the top delegation crash-landing in Iran."

"Our prayers to Allah Almighty are with President Ebrahim Raisi and the accompanying delegation. As a neighbour, friend, and brotherly country, the Republic of Azerbaijan stands ready to offer any assistance needed."

Iraqi government: The Iraqi government said in a statement it had instructed its interior ministry, the Red Crescent, and other relevant bodies to offer help to neighbouring Iran in the search mission.

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