Narrative: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)
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).
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.