Date & Time: Aug 17, 1988 at 1630 LT
Type of aircraft:
Lockheed C-130 Hercules
Bahawalpur - Islamabad
Crew on board:
Pax on board:
Shortly after takeoff from Bahawalpur Airport, while in initial climb, the four engine aircraft went out of control and crashed 7 km from the airport. All 30 occupants were killed, among them Muhammad Zia Ul-Haq, President of the Republic of Pakistan, chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Akhtar Abdur Rahman, Brigadier Siddique Salik, several high ranking officers of the Pakistan Army and also the American Ambassador to Pakistan Arnold Lewis Raphel. They were returning to Islamabad following a US M1 Abrams tank demonstration in Bahawalpur.
Due to the presence of officials on board, it was believed that the accident was the consequence of sabotage but this could not be proven. About 20 years later, in 2008, the British newspaper 'The Times' reported that, back in 1988, an analysis conducted by a US laboratory found 'extensive contamination' by brass and aluminium particles in the elevator booster package. This may have caused sluggish controls leading to overcontrol. This in turn may have led to the pilots losing control at low altitude soon after takeoff. Nevertheless, the exact cause of the accident remains unclear.