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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
Registration: 23494
MSN: 3708
First flight: 1962
Engines: 4 Allison T56-A-7
Crew:Fatalities: 13 / Occupants: 13
Passengers:Fatalities: 17 / Occupants: 17
Total:Fatalities: 30 / Occupants: 30
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:7 km (4.4 mls) N of Bahawalpur Airport (BHV) (   Pakistan)
Phase: Initial climb (ICL)
Nature:Official state flight
Departure airport:Bahawalpur Airport (BHV/OPBW), Pakistan
Destination airport:Islamabad International Airport (ISB/OPRN), Pakistan
Pakistani president General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq had witnessed a tank inspection at Bahawalpur. The president and his entourage, which consisted a.o. of several senior army generals and the American Ambassador to Pakistan, were returning to Islamabad in a C-130 Hercules.
The airplane crashed shortly after takeoff and caught fire. All aboard were killed.
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.

» As Pakistan comes full circle, a light is shone on Zia ul-Haq's death (The Times, 16-8-2008)


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This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Bahawalpur Airport to Islamabad International Airport as the crow flies is 489 km (306 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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Lockheed C-130

  • 2041 built
  • 212th loss
  • 135th fatal accident
  • 15th worst accident (at the time)
  • 29th worst accident (currently)
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  • The worst accident (at the time)
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