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List of 13 Presidents Who Died in Air Crashes

13 June 2024 13:34 WIB

TEMPO.CO, JakartaIranian President Ebrahim Raisi was killed in a helicopter crash on Monday, May 20, 2024. His death shocked the world, but it was far from the first time a state leader was killed in an aviation crash. 

Throughout modern history, several presidents and state leaders have died in tragic air crashes. Citing several sources, here is the list of thirteen presidents who were killed in air crashes from 1940 to 2024.

List of Presidents Killed in Plane and Helicopter Crashes

1. Jose Felix Estigarribia Insaurralde

Jose Felix Estigarribia became President of Paraguay on August 15, 1939. Not even a year in office, he and his wife were killed in a plane crash near the city of Altos on September 7, 1940.

2. Ramon Magsaysay

Ramon Magsaysay, Philippine’s seventh president, died in a plane crash on March 17, 1957, at Mount Balamban, Cebu.  He was then replaced by Vice President Carlos P. Garcia.

3. Abdul as-Salam Arif

Abdul as-Salam Arif was elected as the President of Iraq on February 8, 1963. However, on April 13, 1966, he died in a Havilland Dove helicopter crash. Arif was then replaced by his brother, Brigadier General Abdul al-Rahman Arif.

4. Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco

Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco was the first of five generals who served as Brazil's leader from 1964 to 1967. He finally left office in March 1967 and died about four months later, on July 18, 1967, in a plane crash in the state of Ceara Estado in northeastern Brazil.

5. Rene Barrientos Ortuno

Bolivian President Rene Barrientos Ortuno died in a helicopter crash that occurred on Sunday, April 27, 1969. The Hiller OH-23 helicopter carrying Ortuno hit telephone wires while flying through the Rio Arque Canyon.

6. Jaime Roldos Aguilera

On May 24, 1981, a plane carrying Ecuadorian President Jaime Roldos Aguilera, his wife Martha Bucaram de Roldos, Defense Minister Marco Subia Martinez and his wife, and two aides crashed on the slopes of Mount Huairapungo. The Beechcraft Super King Air plane also killed two pilots and one other passenger.

According to a Televisora del Sur or teleSUR report, Ecuadorian historian Jaime Galaza requested the Attorney General's Office on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, to reopen an investigation into the alleged role of the United States CIA and Israel's Mossad in Aguilera's death.

7. Samora Moises Machel

Mozambique's first president Samora Moises Machel died on the 19th of October, 1986, when the plane he was traveling in crashed on a hillside in Mbuzeni, South Africa. The Soviet Tupolev 134 aircraft carrying him was bound for Maputo after his meeting in Mbala, Zambia.

8. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq

Pakistan's sixth president Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq died in a plane crash on August 17, 1988, in a C-130 plane crash shortly after taking off in the Bahawalpur area near the Sutlej River. The Turkiye state news agency Anadolu Ajansi said many people believed that explosives were hidden in mango crates loaded onto the C-130 plane.

9. Juvenal Habyarimana

On April 6, 1994, the plane carrying Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down by a surface-to-air missile as it prepared to land in Kigali, Rwanda. The incident is often cited as the trigger for the Rwandan genocide that lasted 100 days and killed over 800,000 people.

10. Cyprien Ntaryamira

The plane crash that killed Habyarimana on April 6, 1994, also took the live of Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira. He died after attending a regional summit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Al Jazeera reported that on Friday, July 3, 2020, Habyarimana's wife, Agathe filed a lawsuit to reopen the investigation into the murder of two presidents. 

11. Boris Trajkovski

The Beechcraft Super King Air plane crashed near the city of Mostar, southwestern Bosnia, on February 26, 2004, killing North Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski. A new report found that the plane was technically unfit to fly because several of its instruments were malfunctioning, one of which was the low-altitude alarm.

12. Lech Kaczynski

The Polish presidential plane crashed in Smolensk, western Russia, on Saturday, April 10, 2010. All 96 people onboard died, including Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski, the chief of general staff, members of parliament, dozens of military officials, and priests.

13. Sebastian Piñera Echenique

Former Chilean President Sebastian Pinera Echenique died in a helicopter crash that occurred on Tuesday, February 5, 2024. The helicopter carrying him and three other people crashed in a lake in southern Chile. Pinera died, while the three other passengers managed to jump into the lake and get to shore.

MELYNDA DWI PUSPITA

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