February 20th in Aviation History
Image Credits: FokkerAirliners.net
On the 20th of February, 2003, a Fokker F-27 operated by the Pakistan Air Force took off from Chaklala Airbase in Rawalpindi for Kohat Airbase in Kohat. On board was Air Chief Marshal Mushaf Ali Mir, with his wife and 15 other high ranking Pakistan Air Force officers. The flight to Kohat was for an annual inspection of the PAF base in Kohat to review the US Military logistics in Afghanistan, since the US-Taliban conflict was at its peak at that time.
On approach to PAF Base Kohat, the Fokker F-27 carrying the high value personnel lost contact with the control tower. Soon it was found out that the aircraft had crashed in a mountain range near Kohat. All the occupants of the aircraft including the Air Chief Marshal perished in the crash.
Investigations by the Air Force and the Civil Aviation Authority ruled out any acts of sabotage and initially said that the cause was bad weather. Although later on, it was revealed that the Fokker F-27 was not in an airworthy condition and was in a bad state.
As usual, there also are many conspiracy theories including that he knew about the 9/11 attack before it actually happened and that he was also opposed to Musharraf’s stance on the War on Terror.
Regardless, the exact cause of the crash remains a mystery. The local witnesses said that there was indeed fog and a drizzle when the aircraft crashed and exploded on top of the mountain. Was it the aircraft itself? Or bad weather? or an act of sabotage? No one knows yet.
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