Another one of the Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) aircraft was lost to crashes today, when a Dassault Mirage 5 fighter jet went down near the town of Othal, in the Hub district of Balochistan province. According to the PAF officials, the aircraft, which took off from the port city of Karachi, was on a routine training mission. Both the pilot and the trainee successfully ejected to safety, but the aircraft was completely damaged, beyond repair. Last month also another Mirage 5 had gone down, in eastern part of the Balochistan province.
According to the preliminary reports, the aircraft had taken off from the PAF Base Masroor, the largest airbase of Pakistan Air Force, located in the port city of Karachi, in Sindh Province. A spokesman from the PAF informed the press that they have already started an official investigation to ascertain the reasons behind the aircraft crash. PAF is currently operating a total of 82 Dassault Mirage 5 and 75 Dassault Mirage III fighter jets in its fleet.
Recently the PAF and the Pakistani Army have been plagued by an increasing number of aircraft crashes. Three crashes occurred during the last month alone, resulting in the death of a total of 6 people. In addition to the Mirage 5 crash which occurred on May 11, two separate incidents had occurred on May 17 (involving MFI-17 Mushshaks), and May 23 (involving one Schweizer S300C military helicopter).
The first incident, in which a Mirage 5 was lost, occurred during a routine training mission, and the pilots escaped without any serious injuries. However, four PAF airmen were killed when two MFI-17 Mushshak aircrafts collided in mid-air, on May 17. Two soldiers of the Pak Army lost their lives, when the military helicopter in which they were travelling crashed near the Chenab River on May 23.
The PAF’s lack of advanced jet trainers has been cited as a reason for the frequent crashes in the past, but so far officials are remaining tight lipped on what caused the latest accident. The PAF possesses close to 150 MFI-17 Mushshak basic trainers, in addition to K-8 Karakorum and Cessna T-37 intermediate trainers.