Iran President's Death: Nigeria's Patrick Yakowa, 11 Other Politicians Killed in Air Crashes

Iran President's Death: Nigeria's Patrick Yakowa, 11 Other Politicians Killed in Air Crashes journalist Ridwan Adeola Yusuf has over 9 years of experience covering global news.

Tehran, Iran - Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, along with his foreign minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, died following a helicopter crash in his country on Sunday, May 19. reports that the fatal crash, which claimed the lives of six other people, has sent shock waves around the middle-east since the news was made official on Monday, May 20.

Ebrahim Raisi: List of politicians who died in air crashes
Ebrahim Raisi is among the notable world leaders and politicians who have died from aviation accidents. Photo credits: Pius Utomi Ekpei, Javier Torres, Contributor
Source: Getty Images

Here is a look back at 12 other aircraft disasters in which political leaders lost their lives.

1) Sebastian Pinera, President of Chile

Sebastian Pinera, the former President of Chile, died in February 2024.

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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.

2) Patrick Yakowa

Patrick Yakowa, the former governor of Kaduna state, northwest Nigeria, died in a naval helicopter that crashed and burst into flames in the forest of Okoroba, Nembe local government area (LGA) of Bayelsa state, shortly after take-off.

Yakowa served as governor of Kaduna state from 2010 to 2012.

3) Ishaya Mark Aku

Ishaya Aku was a Nigerian minister of sports in the first cabinet of ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo.

On May 4, 2002, Aku was among 70 passengers on board an airliner that crashed minutes after take-off in Kano. The plane nosedived shortly after take-off and crashed into an arena, killing many people on the ground.

Aku was on his way from Jos to Lagos to watch a friendly match between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Harambee Stars of Kenya.

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The number of casualties was said to be over 140.

4) Nereu Ramos, President of Brazil

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.

5) Abdul Salam Arif, President of Iraq

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.

6) Ramon Magsaysay, President of the Philippines

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.

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7) Arvid Lindman, Sweden Prime Minister

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 (UK), shortly after takeoff in thick fog.

8) Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco, Brazil President

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.

9) Sanjay Gandhi, Indian politician and congress leader

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.

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10) Madhavrao Scindia, Indian Politician and Congress leader

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.

11) Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, President of Pakistan

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.

12) Rashid Karami, Prime Minister of Lebanon

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.

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Iran president Raisi's successor announced

Earlier, reported that following the tragic death of Raisi, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, said there will be no disruptions to how the country is run.

Khamenei assigned vice president (VP) Mohammad Mokhber to assume interim duties after President Raisi’s death.

Proofreading by James Ojo Adakole, journalist and copy editor at


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Ridwan Adeola (Current Affairs Editor) Ridwan Adeola Yusuf is a Current Affairs Editor at and a certified journalist with over 9 years of experience. He edited Politics Nigeria's articles, was the Acting Editor of AllNews Nigeria and Fact-Checking Researcher (Africa Check). He received his HND in Mass Communication from The Polytechnic Ibadan. He received a Certificate of Achievement (Journalism Clinic’s Fix The Leak masterclass, 2021) and also completed Google News Initiative's Advance digital reporting curriculum. Contact him at

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