Published: Sat, August 11, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Employee steals plane from Seattle airport, crashes it shortly

Employee steals plane from Seattle airport, crashes it shortly

An airline worker stole an empty plane from Seattle airport on Friday and crashed it into a nearby sparsely populated island, sparking a security scare that saw USA fighter jets scrambled.

Passengers at Sea-Tac were held by a temporary ground stop while the stolen plane was in flight.

Alaska Airlines, the parent company, confirmed that its Horizon Air Q400 "had an unauthorized takeoff from SeaTac around 8pm has gone down near Ketron Island in Pierce County, WA". This individual who took the aircraft, who has not yet been positively identified until remains are examined, is believed to have been the only person on the plane when the plane was taken from a maintenance position at Sea-Tac. "The responding fighter pilots flew alongside the aircraft and we were ready to do whatever was needed to protect us, but in the end, the man flying the stolen plane crashed on Ketron Island".

Acted alone he is 29-year-old Pierce County resident. The plane crashed either while the man was doing stunts or because of a lack of flying skills, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The two F-15 fighter jets seen intercepting the plane were scrambled out of Portland after the Federal Aviation Administration requested Department of Defense assistance, the military's North American Air Defense Command said.

Around 8: 15 p.m., multiple viewers of our sister station in Seattle, KING 5, called to report a hijacked airplane, saying an apparent pilot or airport worker took off with an aircraft. Ketron Island is small - about 230 acres - and fewer than two dozen people live there, Jenkins said.

The airport says normal operations at Sea-Tac have resumed.

An allegedly suicidal man stole an aircraft from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and prompted a security scare as authorities scrambled two fighter jets to "do whatever necessary" in order to keep the people Washington state safe.

He said he was working with FBI and Military while the sheriff's department said they were working to conduct a background investigation on the man.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor.

"I was getting prepared to run just in case", he said.

He said he'd "like to apologize to each and every one of them".

The plane was a Q400, a Bombardier turboprop plane, one of about 40 the airline has in its fleet.

He concedes that 'this is probably jail time for life, huh? So I'm like maybe it just left the airport.

"I'm down to 2,100 (pounds) [952 kilos]", he says, "I don't know what the burnage is like on takeoff, but it burned quite a bit faster than I expected". "Never really knew it until now". "I was kind of hoping that was gonna be it".

[The plane did] "a complete loop. It's going to disappoint them to hear that I did this", the employee said to controllers.

His motive is not clear, but audio between the cockpit and air traffic control indicates the man was in emotional distress.

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