EU activates mapping service to aid Iranian president chopper search | World News - Hindustan Times

EU activates mapping service to aid Iranian president chopper search

May 20, 2024 05:00 AM IST

The European Union on Sunday said it had activated its "rapid response mapping service" to help Iran search for a helicopter carrying President Ebrahim Raisi.

After the helicopter crash involving Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, whose location remains unknown, the European Union has activated its rapid response mapping service to assist in locating the Iranian leader.

Rescue teams are seen near the site of the incident of the helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Varzaghan in northwestern Iran, (AP)
Rescue teams are seen near the site of the incident of the helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Varzaghan in northwestern Iran, (AP)

The European Commissioner for Crisis Management announced the activation of the service, responding to a request from Iranian authorities.

"Upon Iranian request for assistance we are activating the EU's @CopernicusEMS rapid response mapping service in view of to the helicopter accident reportedly carrying the President of #Iran and its foreign minister," EU official posted on X.

The Copernicus Emergency Management Service (EMS) is a service funded by the European Commission (EU) that provides timely and accurate geospatial information for disaster management, humanitarian crises, and man-made emergencies. The EMS provides continuous observations and forecasts for droughts, floods, and forest fires at the global and European levels. The EMS also provides access to open data sources and in-situ data.

Copernicus Emergency Management Service provides mapping products based on satellite imagery as well as #ForestFires, #Flood, and #Drought early warning products, according to the Copernicus official website.

The Copernicus EMS exposure mapping component provides highly accurate and continuously updated information on the presence of human settlements and populations with the Global Human Settlement Layer (GHSL).

Moreover, Iran has requested assistance from Turkey in the search for the Iranian President's helicopter, CNN reported, citing the Turkish disaster and emergency management ministry.

Iran requested a night vision search and rescue helicopter, the ministry said.

Turkey is also sending six vehicles and 32 mountaineer search and rescue personnel to Iran, according to the ministry.

President Ebrahim Raisi was travelling back to Iran following a visit to Azerbaijan when his helicopter came down in bad weather conditions on Sunday afternoon.

On board the chopper were Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, Hojjatoleslam Al Hashem, the head of the Friday prayer in Tabriz, Malek Rahmati, the governor of the province of East Azarbaijan, and several others.

Meanwhile, Iranian Vice President for Executive Affairs Mohsen Mansouri has said that Iranian officials have spoken to two people on the same helicopter as President Ebrahim Raisi since it crashed on Sunday, Iranian State News Agency IRNA reported.

Because officials made contact "several times" with a passenger and a member of the flight crew shortly after the crash, "it appears that the incident was not severe," Mansouri said. Three helicopters were flying on the same route before two lost contact with Raisi's helicopter, Mansouri said.

"The Ministry of Communications and other security agencies have identified the incident area within a 2-kilometer radius. Due to weather conditions, access to the area is challenging," he said.

The exact site where Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's helicopter crashed on Sunday has still not been located, military officials involved in the search and rescue operation said.

"The helicopters of the 6th Combat Base of Tabriz Air Force arrived in the Varzeqan area according to the order to carry out relief operations," the Commander of Iran's 6th Air Force Base said on Sunday. "These helicopters, along with the rescue team, were sent to the helicopter accident area of the president's convoy from the early hours. Unfortunately, the operation failed due to unfavorable weather conditions."

Officials have said rescuers are facing dense fog and extreme cold as the night grows later in Iran. It's currently just before 9:30 pm local time, CNN reported.

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