ASN Aircraft accident Lockheed C-130B Hercules 23494 Bahawalpur Airport (BHV)
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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: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (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
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.

» 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

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  • 212th loss
  • 135th fatal accident
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