Tuesday, 21 August, 2018

'Suicidal' airline worker steals plane, crashes near Seattle airport

Airliner takes off without authorization at Sea-Tac crashes in Puget Sound	 	 	 			A Horizon Q400 | Source Alaska Airlines Airliner takes off without authorization at Sea-Tac crashes in Puget Sound A Horizon Q400 | Source Alaska Airlines
Faye Gross | 11 August, 2018, 14:15

Alaska Airlines said that it was aware of an unauthorized take-off of the airplane operated by a sister carrier Horizon Air.

A reportedly suicidal employee at Sea-Tac Airport stole an airplane, flew it to south Puget Sound where he crashed it on Ketron Island Friday night. They also said that operations at the airport had resumed after being temporarily halted.

The US fighter jets chased the planes to divert the Horizon Air Q400 from the crowded area after the airline employee conducted an unauthorized takeoff without passengers.

All flights were grounded at Seattle-Tacoma worldwide airport in the U.S. when a passenger plane took off without permission.

There were no passengers in the plane, wrote Ed Troyer, a Public Information Officer from the Pierce County Sheriff's Office. "Our hearts are with the family of the individual aboard as well as all of our Alaska Air and Horizon Air employees".

The plane was a Q400, a Bombardier turboprop plane.

And there was no indication that the incident was an act of terror, Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor told KIRO7 news station in Seattle.

Spokesmen for the Transportation Security Administration, the US Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Aviation Administration directed inquiries to local authorities.

On a live air-traffic control feed, the person flying the plane could be heard speaking with an air-traffic controller who addressed him as Rich and Richard.

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Witness footage shows the plane's erratic flight prior to the crash.

The sheriff said this was not a terrorist incident.

Flights were grounded with some passengers tweeting that their plane stopped abruptly on the runway.

The Coast Guard confirms that the plane crashed on Ketron Island, just off the shores of Steilacoom.

He said he didn't want to disappoint them but that he was "just a broken guy, got a dew screws loose, I guess".

When one of the F-15s made contact with the rogue pilot, the plane nose dived and crashed, a source at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Air Force Base told KOMO.

Ms Morse said her mother, who lives near the crash site, had said eight minutes later that her whole house shook.

This is a developing story, more information to come.

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