When her plane was about to crash, this pilot made a heroic sacrifice to save others.

Mariya Zuberi is rightly being called a hero after her actions stopped a tragedy from becoming much worse.

When her charter plane took off for a test flight in Mumbai, she quickly realized there were mechanical issues. The plane crashed, killing all four onboard, including Zuberi, and two people on the ground.

It's a tragedy that could have been much worse if not for Zuberi's quick thinking. Officials are saying she successfully steered the plane away from more densely populated areas, including away from several tall buildings.


And it wasn't just quick thinking.

India's former civil aviation minister, Praful Patel, tweeted that Zuberi sacrificed her own life to save others.

Zuberi, 47, reportedly ignored family pressure to become a doctor and instead pursued her dream of flying. She was doing what she loved and made the ultimate sacrifice to save others.

"She was a very good pilot, the first in her Muslim family to choose this profession," said her husband, Prabhat Kathuria.

But it didn't have to end this way.

The crash is a reminder about the seriousness of plane safety.

Zuberi's husband says her co-pilot had expressed concerns over bad weather but that they were pressured to make a test flight in the 20-year-old aircraft anyway.

"The incident could have been averted," he said.

2017 was a banner year for commercial aviation safety, the first time no official deaths were reported from crashes.

In April 2018, a woman died on a Southwest Airlines flight after an engine failure shattered the window next to her seat. A month later, a commercial plane in Cuba crashed, killing more than 100 on board. These incidents, like the one in Mumbai, have raised concerns about whether airline regulations are being enforced strongly enough.

Zuberi is a hero, and her legacy should inspire action to protect others going forward.

It's important to investigate why the plane crashed and whether it should have been flown at all. Early reports indicate the plane had been grounded for several years for mechanical concerns. More importantly, the best way to honor the memory of Zuberi and her fellow victims is to take the proper steps to help prevent accidents like this in the future.

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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

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Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

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