A Pakistan fighter jet rehearsing for the country’s national day parade crashed Wednesday in Islamabad.
In a statement, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) said the aircraft's pilot, Wing Commander Norman Akram, died when the plane crashed near a park in the capital city.
"Pakistan Air Force reports with regret that a PAF F-16 aircraft crashed near Shakarparian, Islamabad, during the rehearsals of 23 March parade," the air force said in its statement. "Rescue teams have been dispatched toward the site of the crash."
There were no casualties on the ground or damage to property, the air force said.
Pakistan's President Afif Alvi expressed condolences to the family of the pilot.
Footage on social media and local TV stations showed black smoke rising from a tree-filled area under overcast skies. One video appeared to show the plane pulling out of a steep dive before heading behind a hill, then the roar of the jet engine ends in a thump followed by a ball of fire.
Wednesday’s crash came ahead of the March 23 National Day celebration, which last year featured short- and long-range missiles, tanks, jets, drones and other military hardware.
The American-built F-16 jets are among the most valuable defense hardware in the Pakistan military, which has a fleet of about 50 such jets, each worth at least $40 million, Al Jazeera reported.
Pakistani authorities rarely release details of military training crashes, which are relatively common. In January, an FT-7 jet trainer went down in the eastern Punjab province, killing the two pilots.
Last July, 19 people died, most of them in their homes, when a Pakistani military aircraft crashed into a residential area on the outskirts of the garrison city of Rawalpindi.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.