A TV picture shows the Iranian Airbus being approached from behind by an unindentified object, could be the US missile which hit the airliner. - Gulf News Archives Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

1988 Two hundred and ninety civilians were blown to bits in mid-air when their Iran Air jetliner exploded on being hit by a missile fired by the USS Vincennes in the Strait of Hormuz. “We have been attacked!” were the shocked last words of the Airbus A-300’s pilot. The jetliner was on a routine flight from Bandar Abbas to Dubai. It had been cleared to fly at 14,000 feet by Bandar Abbas control, the height at which the flight is normally maintained on the Dubai route. Bandar Abbas flight control as well as Dubai airport control tower lost contact with the aircraft just seven minutes after take-off. Military sources had said the Vincennes, one of the US navy’s most advanced warships, had fired two missiles at the aircraft because it appeared to be “diving on the ship” from a distance of 68 miles away. The jetliner had crashed in Iranian territorial waters and Iran’s own forces reached the spot and began retrieving the bodies of the dead men, women and children.

Other important events

1583 Russia’s Czar Ivan the Terrible kills his son Ivan in a fit of rage.

1608 Samuel de Champlain, French explorer, lays the foundation of Canadian city of Quebec.

1819 The first bank in the US, The Bank for Savings, opens for business in New York City.

1866 Prussians defeat Austrians at Battle of Koenigraetz.

1881 Britain persuades Turkey to sign convention with Greece.

1896 Abdul Hamid II, Sultan of Turkey, agrees to introduce self-government in Crete.

1915 US military forces occupy Haiti, remain until 1934.

1920 William Tilden becomes the first American tennis player to win the men’s singles title at Wimbledon.

1944 Soviet forces retake Minsk from Germans, capturing 100,000 troops.

1950 US and North Korean troops clash for first time in Korean War.

1971 Indonesians vote in their country’s first national election in 16 years.

1979 The steam station and water desalination complex is opened at Jebel Ali.

1986 Emir of Kuwait dissolves parliament.

1987 Richard Branson and Per Linstrand parachute from their balloon into the Irish sea after riding the jet-stream more than 3,000 miles across the Atlantic in a record breaking flight.

1993 Ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide signs an accord in New York with the Haitian military that will return him to office.

1997 Western Samoa votes to simplify the country’s name to Samoa.

2000 Vicente Fox becomes president of Mexico.

2002 American businessman and adventurer Steve Fossett becomes the first person to circumnavigate the world solo in a balloon.

2005 Renault’s Fernando Alonso celebrated a runaway win in the French Grand Prix.

2006 A speeding underground train runs off the tracks and overturns in Valencia, Spain, killing 43 people.

2007 Sterling rises to its highest level against the dollar in a quarter of a century.

2009 The 103rd-floor skydeck of the Sears Tower in Chicago is opened to the public.

2011 Allies of Thailand’s fugitive ex-leader Thaksin Shinawatra storm to victory in elections.

2013 Egypt’s military ousts Islamist president Mohammad Mursi.

2017 A tour bus carrying prisoners collides with a trailer truck in Muchberg, Germany, killing up to 18 people.