Asia

Marium Mukhtiar, Pakistani female fighter pilot, dies in crash

Marium Mukhtiar (file photo) Image copyright Pakistan Air Force

A female Pakistani fighter pilot has died after her aircraft crashed in Punjab province.

Marium Mukhtiar was on a routine training mission when her plane met an "in-flight emergency" over Mianwali district, the air force said.

She and her co-pilot ejected. She later died from her injuries in hospital.

Flying Officer Mukhtiar was one of a small number of women to work as fighter pilots in Pakistan, and the first to die on operational service.

She told BBC News last year of her journey into a traditionally male-dominated world and desire to "do something different".

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Media captionMarium Mukhtiar explains why she decided to train to be a fighter pilot

Marium Mukhtiar was among about 20 female fighter pilots in the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), which only began inducting women in combat roles in 2006.

It was not immediately clear why her aircraft crashed. The male pilot was not badly injured and is recovering in hospital.

"Both the pilots handled the serious emergency with professionalism and courage and tried to save the ill-fated aircraft till the very last minute," a PAF statement said.

Pakistan's military has suffered a series of air disasters in recent months.

In September a trainer jet crashed near Mastung in Balochistan province. The pilot ejected to safety.

A military helicopter crash in May killed seven people, including the ambassadors of Norway and the Philippines. Another military helicopter crashed near Mansehra district in August, killing 12 people.

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