34 Years ago today: On 17 August 1988 Pakistani president Zia-ul-Haq was killed when his Air Force C-130B Hercules crashed after takeoff from Bahawalpur.

Date:Wednesday 17 August 1988
Type:Silhouette image of generic C130 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Lockheed C-130B Hercules
Operator:Pakistan Air Force
First flight:1962
Engines:Allison T56-A-7
Crew:Fatalities: 13 / Occupants: 13
Passengers:Fatalities: 17 / Occupants: 17
Total:Fatalities: 30 / Occupants: 30
Aircraft damage:Destroyed
Aircraft fate:Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:7 km (4.4 mls) N of Bahawalpur Airport (BHV) (https://cdn.aviation-safety.net/database/country/flags_15/AP.gif   Pakistan)
Phase:Initial climb (ICL)
Nature:Official state flight
Departure airport:Bahawalpur Airport (BHV/OPBW), Pakistan
Destination airport:Islamabad International Airport (ISB/OPRN), Pakistan

A Pakistan Air Force Lockheed C-130B Hercules carrying Pakistani President General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq crashed shortly after takeoff from Bahawalpur Airport and caught fire. All 30 occupants were killed.

Zia-ul-Haq had witnessed a tank inspection at Bahawalpur and was returning to Islamabad with his entourage, which consisted a.o. of several senior army generals and the American Ambassador to Pakistan.

Many theories indicated that the accident was caused by sabotage. In 2008 newspaper The Times reported that, back in 1988, an analysis by a US lab 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.