As Iran Mourns President, A Look At Other Politicians Killed In Air Crashes

From Congress leader Sanjay Gandhi to the President of the Philippines Ramon Magsaysay, here is a look back at prominent leaders who died in air crashes.

As Iran Mourns President, A Look At Other Politicians Killed In Air Crashes

Congress leader Madhavrao Scindia (centre) died in a crash in 2001.

New Delhi:

Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi died following a helicopter crash in a mountainous region of the country last night. In a statement today, the Iranian government assured that operations will continue "without the slightest disruption" despite the loss of President Raisi. "We assure the loyal nation that the path of service will continue with the tireless spirit of Ayatollah Raisi," the statement emphasised, underscoring that the government's work will proceed uninterrupted.

Here is a look back to 10 other aircraft disasters in which political leaders were killed.

1. Arvid Lindman, Prime Minister Of Sweden (1936)

Salomon Arvid Achates Lindman, a Swedish rear admiral and two-time Prime Minister of Sweden, was an influential conservative politician. On December 9, 1936, Lindman died in a tragic accident when the Douglas DC-2 he was aboard crashed into houses near Croydon Airport in the United Kingdom, shortly after takeoff in thick fog.

2. Ramon Magsaysay, President of the Philippines (1957)

Ramon Magsaysay, the seventh President of the Philippines, was known for his strong anti-corruption stance and populist appeal. His presidency was abruptly ended on March 17, 1957, when his plane, a C-47 dubbed "Mt. Pinatubo," crashed into Mount Manunggal in the city of Cebu. Of the 25 passengers, only one survived.

3. Nereu Ramos, President of Brazil (1958)

Nereu Ramos, who briefly served as interim president of Brazil, died on June 16, 1958. Ramos was travelling on a Cruzeiro do Sul airliner when it crashed near Curitiba Afonso Pena International Airport in the state of Parana.

4. Abdul Salam Arif, President of Iraq (1966)

Abdul Salam Arif, the second President of Iraq, played a crucial role in the 1958 revolution that overthrew the monarchy. On April 13, 1966, Arif died when his Iraqi Air Force plane, a de Havilland DH.104 Dove, crashed near Basra. His brother, Abdul Rahman Arif, succeeded him as president.

5. Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco, President of Brazil (1967)

Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco, the 26th President of Brazil and a key figure in the former military dictatorship, died on July 18, 1967. Shortly after his presidency ended, Castelo Branco's Piper PA-23 Aztec collided mid-air with a Brazilian Air Force Lockheed T-33, leading to his death. His passing was shrouded in controversy and conspiracy theories.

6. Sanjay Gandhi, Indian politician and Congress leader (1980)

Sanjay Gandhi, son of former prime minister Indira Gandhi, died on June 23, 1980. Sanjay's life was cut short when he lost control of his aircraft at Delhi's Safdarjung airport.

7. Rashid Karami, Prime Minister of Lebanon (1987)

Rashid Karami, Lebanon's most frequently elected Prime Minister, was a prominent figure during the Lebanese Civil War. On June 1, 1987, a bomb exploded in his helicopter en route to Beirut, killing Karami and wounding several others on board.

8. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, President of Pakistan (1988)

General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, the sixth President of Pakistan, died on August 17, 1988. His C-130 Hercules aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff from Bahawalpur. The cause of the crash remains mysterious, with theories ranging from mechanical failure to sabotage.

9. Madhavrao Scindia, Indian Politician and Congress leader (2001)

Madhavrao Scindia, a prominent Indian politician and member of the Congress, died in a plane crash on September 30, 2001. The crash occurred near Mainpuri, Uttar Pradesh, when his private Beechcraft King Air C90 caught fire mid-air.

10. Sebastian Pinera, President of Chile (2024)

Sebastian Pimera, the former President of Chile, died in February 2024. Pinera's helicopter crashed into a lake in southern Chile, resulting in his death. He was a significant figure in Chilean politics, having served two non-consecutive terms as president.