Airline Worker Steals Aircraft, Crashes Near Seattle

Seattle airport,Alaska Airlines,Aircraft stolen

Seattle airport,Alaska Airlines,Aircraft stolen

"We've confirmed a Horizon Air Q400 that had an unauthorized takeoff from SeaTac around 8 pm has gone down near Ketron Island in Pierce County, WA".

The Q400 is a twin-prop aeroplane with up to 78 seats, depending on configuration.

Authorities described him as being suicidal, adding that the incident is not related to terrorism. Sheriff Paul Pastor said on Twitter it was not a terrorist incident and the plane had been stolen by a local 29-year-old "suicidal male" who acted alone and was likely killed in the crash.

Mr Tilden said planes do not have door or ignition keys, and that other airport security measures keep them safe.

The man didn't have a pilot's license, and authorities say it's unclear how he attained the skills to do loops in the aircraft before crashing about an hour after taking off into a small island in the Puget Sound. He said the crash caused an intense fire and no injuries were reported on the ground. 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.

Authorities say the man who stole an empty Horizon Air turboprop plane from Sea-Tac International Airport in Seattle was a 3.5-year Horizon employee and had clearance to be among aircraft.

The newspaper describes him as sounding "carefree and wild" in the audio. "I'm down to 2,100 (pounds)", he is heard saying.

Then later he began to worry about his fuel. "I've played video games before so I know what I'm doing a little bit".

An air traffic controller tried to convince him to land the airplane.

They intercepted the plane near Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"He was a nice guy", Kaelin said. "I don't want to. They probably have anti-aircraft".

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"They just came in screaming", Funk said. "I was kinda hoping that was gonna be it. Ya know?"

Speaking with an air traffic controller on the ground-control frequency normally used to guide planes to the runway, Russell talked about circling Rainier, or heading over to the Olympic Mountains.

"Oh, Richard", said the controller, "We're not going to worry or think about that. But could you start a left-hand turn, please?"

"I thought they were practicing for an air show", he said.

Later, Mr Russell said: "I've got a lot of people that care about me. Never really knew it, until now", Rich Russell said. "One of the things we're going to be looking for is the flight data recorders, and then also the recovery of the remains", Eckrote told reporters.

"Ah, Rich, don't say stuff like that", the controller said. The FAA reports that a ground stop was ordered through 11 p.m.

Video footage on social media showed a large plane flying above the Seattle area with a F-15 fighter jet following it. "We saw the jets circle back after and she texted that there was no plane". He didn't hear the crash, but saw smoke.

"It was unfathomable, it was something out of a movie", he said.

The pilot can also be heard apologising for his actions.

"That's somebody's son or husband or daughter". At the Alaska Airlines terminal, it was a hushed Friday night.

Armed with missiles and a six-barrel cannon, and capable of flying at two-and-a-half times the speed of sound, the planes closed most of the distance to Sea-Tac in four minutes, creating a sonic boom on their way. This first video shows just how erratic the plane was flying.

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