A pilot was killed Sunday when a Sukhoi-30 crashed in a mountainous area in northern Venezuela during practice exercises ahead of a parade to mark the country’s independence, President Nicolas Maduro said.
“I regret to inform you that during the practice manoeuvres … an aircraft of our Bolivarian Military Aviation fell to the ground, causing the physical loss of the distinguished pilot Col. Paulino Jose Millan Sabino,” the president wrote on Twitter.
The armed forces said in a statement that the plane “crashed to the ground” at around 09:45 am (1345 GMT) on July 2 in the municipality of Guaicaipuro, in Miranda state, some 31 kilometers (19 miles) from Caracas.
The plane, a Sukhoi-30, had two crew members. Both managed to eject, but Sabino “died when he fell to the ground,” the armed forces added.
In the past week, military aircraft have flown over Caracas and other cities in practice maneuvers to commemorate July 5, 1811, the date of the signing of the act declaring independence from Spain.