A MiG 21 fighter aircraft crashed in Punjab's Muktsar district, 150 km from here, on Thursday. Its pilot Flight Lieutenant Anu Akhuria died instantaneously.

Station House Officer Davinder Singh said: "The aircraft was on a routine training exercise, having taken off from the Bathinda Air force Station at 2 p.m. It apparently lost power while taking off, but the pilot could not eject in time."

Quoting eyewitnesses, he said that soon after the takeoff, smoke started coming out of the aircraft.

Senior IAF officials reached the site, near Bhaliana village, to investigate the crash.

There was no casualty or damage to property, since the accident occurred outside the village.

Thursday's crash was the seventh so far this year; earlier four MiG aircraft, a Sukhoi, a Surya Kiran training aircraft and an AN-32 transport aircraft have crashed.

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