Seattle mechanic opens up to control tower before 'suicidal' crash

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey

Police in a Seattle-area county in Washington said there was no terrorism link after a man stole a plane with no passengers and flew it into the Puget Sound on Friday night following a chase by military jets.

An air traffic controller called the man "Rich", and tried to convince him to land the airplane. He described him as a white male, age 29, who may have mental health problems.

The sheriff's office also said that the F-15s arrived minutes after the plane was stolen and kept the aircraft "out of harm's way and people on ground safe".

"There are still a lot of unknowns surrounding tonight's tragic incident of a stolen Horizon Airline plane from Sea-Tac Airport", Inslee said.

Whether or not "Rich" realized it, the national guard had scrambled a pair of F-15 fighters to protect the airports in case he made any threatening moves toward one of them. The airport said operations have returned to normal.

The employee had worked for Horizon Air for 3-1/2 years and had clearance to tow planes, Alaska Airlines Chief Executive Brad Tilden said at the news conference.

The aircraft was stolen at about 8 p.m. Alaska Airlines said it was in a "maintenance position" and not scheduled for a passenger flight. I was thinking, like, I'm going to have this moment of serenity, take in all the sights. They should've gone over and said "Hey, ' if nothing else, 'Can I help you? I was kind of hoping that was gonna be it". However, "Rich" also later tells them that he can't figure out how to pressurize the plane and that he's getting "lightheaded" after having vomited at least once. Two military F-15s were scrambled to pursue the plane, but were not involved in the crash. "I just want you to whisper sweet nothings into my ear", said Rich, who claimed he could fly the plane because he played video games.

NBC reported that the man expressed distress about his mental health while communicating with the air traffic control tower.

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After a ride full of risky loop-the-loops moves and freakish conversation with the air traffic controllers, Richard wasn't able to land safely and crashed into a heavily wooded area on Ketron Island causing the jet became engulfed in flames. The rogue pilot was aauthorized to operate the equipment that tows airplanes to and from runways.

NORAD said its fighter pilots did not fire upon the plane.

He then said: "I wouldn't know how to land - I wasn't really planning on landing it".

Although the identity of the man is not known, authorities have confirmed that he was in charge of directing aircraft for takeoff, gate approach and de-icing planes. "I don't know what the burnage is like on takeoff, but it burned quite a bit faster than I expected".

Ehl said arrivals were allowed to continue to clear the airspace, but nine flights were diverted to other airports.

"He never got to high altitude, and there should have been no problem with pressurization", pilot Stratman said.

The FBI is leading investigations into the incident and special agent Jay Tabb said there are dozens of people at the crash site working to find answers.

"Our hearts are with the family of the individual aboard, as well as all our Alaska Air and Horizon Air employees", she said.

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