In the early hours of May 20, a Turkish Bayraktar Akinci unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) detected a heat source in the mountainous northwest of Iran. The coordinates shared with Iranian authorities confirmed the wreckage of a helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

The helicopter, also carrying Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and other officials, had gone missing on May 19 over East Azerbaijan province, prompting a massive rescue operation in the fog-shrouded forest. An Iranian official stated that hopes sparked throughout the night until they received the Turkish coordinates.

President Raisi was travelling near Jolfa, a city on the border with Azerbaijan, approximately 600 km northwest of Tehran. Initial conflicting reports placed the crash site near the village of Uzi. Turkish authorities released drone footage showing a fire, suspected to be the wreckage, 20 km south of the Azerbaijan-Iran border on a steep mountain. Tragically, all nine people on board, including Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, were confirmed dead.