A Bell 212 helicopter crashed carrying Iran’s President Raisi: What we all know | EUROtoday

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The helicopter that crashed whereas carrying the Iranian president via mountainous fog was a U.S.-designed Bell 212, based on state media and images verified by The Washington Post.

The Bell 212 plane is a extensively used civilian model of the Vietnam-era Huey navy helicopter, operated by armed forces and companies across the globe. The mannequin is a two-blade twin-engine medium helicopter with as much as 15 seats that first flew in 1968, based on Skybrary, an aviation database.

Authorities in Iran have supplied little details about the circumstances of the crash that killed President Ebrahim Raisi and eight others however have attributed it to a “technical failure.” U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin instructed reporters Monday that “the United States had no part to play” within the crash and that the Pentagon had no perception into the trigger.

Despite poor relations between Tehran and Washington, the Iranian air power maintains 5 of those U.S.-designed plane for its VIP squadron, together with the one concerned within the president’s crash, based on Scramble, a Dutch aviation web site. Some could also be a long time previous — information from Cirium, an aviation analytics firm, exhibits that the common age of the 15 Bell 212 plane registered in Iran was 35 years previous — with their upkeep difficult by worldwide sanctions on Iran.

Bell Helicopter, now Bell Textron, which developed the helicopter within the Nineteen Sixties, mentioned it had little details about the state of the helicopter. “We can confirm that Bell does not conduct any business in Iran or support their helicopter fleet, and we do not have knowledge about the active state of the helicopter involved in this accident,” Bell mentioned in a press release to The Post on Monday.

U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby on Monday denied accusations that U.S. sanctions might have led to the crash, calling any such claims “utterly baseless.”

The helicopter crashed Sunday amid dense fog within the mountainous terrain of Iran’s East Azerbaijan province. Dozens of search groups labored into the evening, struggling via the rugged panorama to achieve the scene; phrase that the location had been discovered and all 9 folks aboard have been lifeless got here greater than 12 hours after information first emerged of the helicopter’s disappearance. There has been no indication of foul play.

John Cox, an American crash knowledgeable, mentioned investigators are prone to additionally concentrate on the unhealthy climate and poor visibility reported on the time of the crash.

Raisi was coming back from an look with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to inaugurate the joint Qiz Qalasi Dam mission when the helicopter went down in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province.

Raisi was coming back from an look with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to inaugurate the joint Qiz Qalasi Dam mission when the helicopter went down in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province.

Raisi was coming back from an look with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to inaugurate the joint Qiz Qalasi Dam mission when the helicopter went down in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province.

“Mountainous terrain and bad weather is never a good combination for a helicopter flight,” mentioned Jeff Guzzetti, a former federal crash investigator. He described the Bell 212 as “a stalwart.”

A database maintained by the Flight Safety Foundation lists about 430 Bell 212 accidents since 1972, together with the Iranian president’s helicopter crash, with 162 of them — just below 40 p.c — involving fatalities.

Globally, there are 443 Bell 212 plane in service by 144 totally different operators, and their common age is 42 years previous, based on Cirium.

TV footage on May 20 confirmed the location of a helicopter crash that killed Iran’s president, overseas minister and different officers. This video has no audio. (Video: AP)

The final fatality involving a Bell 212 occurred in September, when a helicopter on a coaching flight crashed off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, based on the Flight Safety Foundation.

Typically, abroad crash investigators name within the experience of overseas plane producers to assist their probes, beneath a course of overseen by the U.N. aviation company. It’s unclear whether or not Iran will search that help, however, Cox mentioned, “It would be better if Bell aircraft were involved to assist the Iranians.”

Iranian authorities have blamed sanctions on U.S. aviation tools for the crash. Cox mentioned it might most likely be troublesome to function the Bell helicopter inside Iran with no third-party supply for elements or cannibalizing plane for spares.

Iran has confronted U.S. sanctions since 1979. The measures have broadened and deepened through the years and been complemented by European and U.N. sanctions, negatively affecting the Iranian aviation sector and different industries.

There have been occasions when Iran was capable of “legally import” whole plane and their elements from Western nations, mentioned Farzan Sabet, a senior analysis affiliate on the Geneva Graduate Institute.

“Especially since sanctions and export controls have intensified in the last decade and a half, [Iran] has increasingly had much more trouble doing this,” aside from a quick interval throughout the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal earlier than the withdrawal of the United States beneath President Donald Trump.

The United States’ sanctions block not solely U.S.-manufactured plane that may be bought to Iran, but additionally “aircraft that use sophisticated U.S. components,” Sabet added. Sanctions additionally make worldwide transactions involving Iran’s civil aviation sector and fleet way more troublesome.

John Hudson contributed to this report.