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7 World Leaders Killed in Air Crashes; Ebrahim Raisi the Latest

27 May 2024 21:20 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The tragic death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash has sent shockwaves across the globe. The Iranian state media confirmed the news on its social media X (formerly Twitter) on Monday, May 20. On Sunday, May 19, the Iranian government announced that the helicopter carrying Raisi and his Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian had an emergency landing in eastern Azerbaijan. 

Here is a list of prominent world leaders who have died in air crashes, as reported by The Daily Star.

1. Ramon Magsaysay, Philippines

On March 16, 1957, on his way back to Manila after receiving an honorary doctorate, the plane carrying Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay crashed into Mount Manunggal in Cebu, Philippines. All passengers were killed.

Magsaysay was hailed as a "Champion of the masses" and a "Defender of democracy". He was considered the most popular leader in the modern-day of the Philippines.

2. Dag Hammarskjold, United Nations

The second Secretary General of the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjöld of Sweden, died when his plane crashed in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) on September 18, 1961, on his way to negotiate a ceasefire. Some say it was a pilot's error, while others, the Americans, claim the Soviets killed the man.

John F Kennedy once called Dag Hammarskjöld of Sweden the "greatest statesman of our century". He played crucial roles as a mediator between Israel and the Arab states, between China and the US, and as a force for African decolonization. Unfortunately, it was his involvement in the Congo crisis that killed him.

3. Rashid Karami, Lebanon

On June 1, 1987, a helicopter carrying Rashid Karami was rigged with a remote-controlled bomb, which exploded mid-air and killed him. Rashid Karami, who held the record for being elected as prime minister eight times, was a major political figure in Lebanon throughout the 20th century and in the Middle East in general.

Karimi's killing was allegedly carried out by a Maronite militia leader who was a member of the Christian armed organizations engaged in the civil war.

4. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, Pakistan

Pakistani President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq died in a plane crash on August 17, 1988, after observing an arms show in Punjab province with other military leaders and the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan. This crash marked the end of a tumultuous era of his leadership, which was marred by massive Islamization, nuclear ambitions, and involvement in the Soviet-Afghan War.

5. Juvenal Habyarimana, Rwanda

President of Rwanda for 21 years, Juvénal Habyarimana was a central figure in the horrific Rwandan genocide. The shooting down of his plane in 1994 sparked ethnic bloodshed that claimed more than 800,000 lives. His controversial death continues to be hotly debated, with accusations of conspiracy and revenge still looming.

6. Lech Kaczynski, Poland 

Lech Kaczynski, the pro-democracy and anti-communist President of Poland, was killed in a plane tragedy in Russia in 2010. The crash claimed the lives of 96 people, including many high-ranking Polish officials. His sudden death left deep wounds on the Polish nation and sparked prolonged political speculation.

7. Ebrahim Raisi, Iran

Most recently, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi died at the age of 63 in a helicopter crash. The foreign minister and seven others also perished in the tragedy, which occurred in a remote, mountainous area of northwestern Iran on May 19, 2024.

MICHELLE GABRIELA | CNN | THE DAILY STAR

Editor's Choice: 10 Countries with the Highest Number of Airplane Accidents, Canada and Indonesia on the List

Click here to get the latest news updates from Tempo on Google News



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