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Venezuelan Air Force Colonel dies in Sukhoi Su-30MK2 Fighter jet crash

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A tragic incident occurred in Venezuela as a Sukhoi Su-30MK2 fighter jet crashed, resulting in the death of a Colonel from the Bolivarian Military Aviation division. President Nicolás Maduro confirmed the pilot’s death in the mountainous area of Guaicaipuro. The crash took place during a fly-past exercise in preparation for Venezuela’s Independence Day celebration.

The accident transpired at approximately 09:45 am local time on July 2, 2023. As per President Maduro’s statement, the aircraft experienced turbine failure, leading to its descent into a wooded area. While both crew members managed to eject from the plane, Colonel Paulino José Millán Sabino tragically lost his life upon impact.

The Venezuelan Armed Forces (VAF) expressed their grief on Twitter, mourning the loss of a courageous military professional who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving the nation.

The Sukhoi Su-30 aircraft involved in the crash is a twin-engine, two-seat supermaneuverable fighter jet developed by Russia’s Sukhoi Aviation Corporation. This versatile aircraft is capable of performing a wide range of combat and non-combat roles. It is armed with a 30mm autocannon and equipped with hardpoints that can carry various missiles.

Venezuela’s military cooperation agreements with Russia, Iran, China, and Turkey have been in place since the late President Hugo Chavez’s tenure (1999-2013). As part of these agreements, Venezuela acquired 24 Sukhoi Su-30MK2 aircraft in 2006, replacing the French Dassault Mirage 2000 fighter jets.

Unfortunately, this is not the first fatal crash involving a Sukhoi-30 aircraft in Venezuela. Similar incidents occurred in September 2015 and October 2019, resulting in the loss of two pilots. These incidents highlight the inherent risks associated with operating high-performance fighter jets and underscore the importance of rigorous training and maintenance protocols.

The Venezuelan government and the Bolivarian Military Aviation division will likely conduct a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the crash and implement any necessary measures to prevent future accidents. Safety and training protocols will likely come under scrutiny to ensure the well-being of pilots and the continued effectiveness of the Venezuelan Air Force.

The loss of Colonel Paulino José Millán Sabino serves as a somber reminder of the sacrifices made by military professionals in their commitment to national defense. The nation mourns the loss of a brave individual, and his contributions will be remembered by his comrades and the Venezuelan people.

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