ISLAMABAD - A Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Mirage aircraft crashed in south of Dera Ismail Khan during a routine operational training mission, says a press note issued here by the PAF.

Pilot and the co-pilot were killed in the incident which took place on Wednesday afternoon in Miran, some 80 kilometers away from DI Khan. According to the PAF spokesperson, the martyred included Air Commodore Shafqat Mushtaq and Flight Lieutenant Sohaib Rasheed.

A PAF spokesperson said that search operation was underway on the site. A board of inquiry has been ordered by the Air Headquarters to determine cause of the accident. Police officials said that the aircraft, which was on a training flight, might have crashed due to lightening and rain in the area.

Army and PAF rescue teams had surrounded the crash site and were searching for bodies of the pilots.

The district police officer (DPO) said that plane parts had been found near the crash site.

The DPO further said that the area had been experiencing heavy downpour, which could be a likely reason behind the crash.

The sources in Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) confirmed the incident, saying the crashed plane was Mirage-5 of the PAF.

The Pakistan Air Force has a fleet of Chinese aircraft including F-7PGs and A-5s, plus US-built F-16s and French Mirages. It recently acquired JF-17 Thunder jets, manufactured jointly by China and Pakistan.