TEHRAN: Despite the adverse weather conditions, rescuers are racing against time to find the site of a missing helicopter that was carrying the Iranian President and his delegation but suffered a “hard landing” in northwestern part of the country.

Rescue teams, including armed forces, are combing the rocky area and the hilly terrain near the city of Varzaqan in East Azarbaijan province and have narrowed down the radius of their search to 2 kilometres despite foggy and rainy weather, according to Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

Earlier, Iran’s Red Crescent Society (IRCS) said it had dispatched more groups to help locate the site where the helicopter crashed in the northwestern province of East Azarbaijan.

President Raisi was returning from a ceremony to inaugurate a dam on Iran’s border with the Azerbaijan Republic, when his helicopter crashed upon landing in Varzaqan region on Sunday.

Forty six rapid response and rescue teams from the provinces of East Azarbaijan, Tehran, Alborz, Ardabil, Zanjan and West Azarbaijan have been mobilised to help in the search and rescue operation, it cited the IRCS said on Sunday night.

Earlier, IRCS chief Pirhossein Koulivand, who is leading the search and rescue operation, said that inclement weather conditions and the impassability of the area are hampering the operation.

Meanwhile, Head of IRCS Operations Razieh Alishvandi said that four specialised teams are now near the crash site but they face difficulty further approaching due to bad weather conditions.

Search operation using drones and helicopters is impossible as well, she added.