Many top-notch political figures met their death in air crashes before.
The air tragedy that caused the greatest global response took the life of Sweden's Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjold, United Nations Secretary General. His plane crashed as he was going to The Congo on a peacemaking mission, September 18, 1961. Several high UN officers and Congolese government functionaries shared his doom. Congolese insurgents might have brought the plane down. Suspicions are alive to this day.
A terror act killed President Rene Barientos Ortuno of Bolivia on an air travel, 1969.
General Lin Biao, Mao Zedong's most likely successor to Chinese presidency, died in an air crash in Mongolia, 1971. Was he victim of the Chinese secret service in an attempted escape to the Soviet Union? The answer is not known even now.
General Omar Torrijos, in command of the Panamanian National Guards and actual national leader, died in an equally suspicious air crash, July 31, 1981.
Another air crash, no less ominous, preceded it as President Jaime Roldos Aguilera of Ecuador died, May 24 the same year. An assassination was alleged in that instance, too.
President Samora Machel of Mozambique was going home from an international conference as his TU 134 craft, of Soviet design and manufacture, hit the ground on his country's frontier with South Africa, October 19, 1986. Several of his cabinet ministers died with the president. The tragedy stays vague to this day, and many Africans still suspect the South African secret service. Some say spies changed the call sign to mislead flight controllers.
General Zia Ul-Haq Mohammed, President of Pakistan, died August 17, 1988, as his war plane Hercules S 130 crashed. Top Pakistani military officers and US Ambassador Arnold Rafel died with the president.
Russia's President Boris Yeltsin was injured in a crash in Spain on route to Barcelona, May 1990. He had urgent spine surgery, and another spinal operation three years later.
African rebels - presumably, of the Tutsi - brought down a plane in the Great Lakes area to kill presidents Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi and Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda, April 6, 1994. The secret service of the neighbouring Zaire, presently Democratic Republic of The Congo, was suspected of masterminding.
A Chad governmental plane crashed near Njamena, the country's capital, February 15, 2001, to kill Abderahman Dadi, presidential administration Secretary General, and Ali Ahmed Lamine, Economic Promotion and Development Minister.
Princess Preksha of Nepal, six retainers and the helicopter pilot died in a crash of November 12 the same year in the vicinity of Lake Rara, a Nepalese spa for which Her Royal Highness was bound on vacation.
Twelve generals, two colonels and several other top military officers died in a crash of April 5, 2001, in Sudan's south to leave the Sudanese army with no commanders.