Sea-Tac Airport Issues Statement After 'Suicidal Male' Crashes Plane

Alaska Airlines planes are seen at Seattle Tacoma International Airport in SeaTac Wash. Oct. 30 2013

Alaska Airlines planes are seen at Seattle Tacoma International Airport in SeaTac Wash. Oct. 30 2013

It later crashed on the island and the pilot - the only person on board - is not believed to have survived.

Eckrote, the NTSB investigator, said the investigation will focus on the man who stole the plane to determine his motives. He said he didn't see the crash but saw smoke.

A Horizon Air ground service agent got into a Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft on Friday night in a maintenance area at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and took off, Horizon sister carrier Alaska Airlines said.

There was no connection to terrorism and no others were involved, said Troyer.

Video showed the Horizon Air Q400 doing large loops and other risky maneuvers as the sun set on the Puget Sound. There were no passengers aboard.

Those employees direct aircraft for take-off and gate approach and de-ice planes.

A turboprop passenger plane stolen from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and trailed by two fighter jets crashed Friday night on Ketron Island, off the shore from Steilacoom, authorities said.

Sheriff's department officials said they were working to conduct a background investigation on the Pierce County resident. He was only identified as an employee for Horizon Air, in a statement by Alaska Air Group CEO Brad Tilden.

The conversation between the man, addressed as Rich/Richard, and the air-traffic controller right before the Horizon Air Q400 plane crash, was released by Aviation journalist Jon Ostrower on Twitter.

After being contacted by F-15's, stolen plane began to nose dive, crashing in north Pierce County.

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Airport employee Richard Russell shockingly stole an Alaska Airlines plane at the Seattle-Tacoma airport on August 10 and took it for a freaky joyride by himself before it crashed.

The theft of an empty plane by an airline worker who performed risky loops before crashing into a remote island in Puget Sound illustrated what aviation experts have long known: One of the biggest potential perils for commercial air travel is airline or airport employees causing mayhem.

Earlier in the flight, the man says: "This is probably, like, jail time for life, huh?" Although it's not yet known how Richard, who worked with airport baggage and was not a pilot, was able to get in the plane and fly it away from the airport without being caught, F-15 fighter jets were called to track him as soon as airline employees realized what was going on. "I would like to apologize to each and every one one of them".

While he was in the air, Russell described himself to air traffic controllers as "just a broken guy" with "a few screws loose".

Normal operations at the airport were interrupted briefly, the airport said.

President Donald Trump was briefed and the White House praised authorities´ quick response to the crisis. He is now at his New Jersey golf club. The wooded island, about 25 miles southwest from the airport, has a population of about 20 people, the Seattle Times reported, and is only accessible by ferry.

In a video posted on YouTube last December, Russell shows luggage coming off and being loaded onto aircraft, and describes what the life of a ground service agent can entail. Law enforcement officials identified him to United States media. Unlike cars, there are no keys needed for the door or to turn on the plane, he said.

"At this time, we believe he was the only one in the aircraft but of course, we haven't confirmed that at the crash site", Jay Tabb, chief of the FBI's Seattle division, told reporters.

Alaska Air said the F-15s were scrambled from a Portland airbase.

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