Tuesday, 21 August, 2018

Plane stolen from SeaTac International Airport, multiple sources claim

SeaTac Airport SeaTac Airport
Gerardo Duncan | 11 August, 2018, 17:16

A "suicidal" airline mechanic stole an empty Alaska Airlines plane and took off from Sea-Tac International Airport in Washington state before crashing near a small island Friday night, officials said.

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

Within minutes of the plane's takeoff, the military scrambled two F-15 jets from Portland to follow the plane authorities said.

The Pierce County Sheriff's Office tweeted that the pilot was a 29-year-old airline mechanic who was suicidal, and that he acted alone.

The plane crashed into Ketron Island, it said.

"Doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills caused crash into Island", the sheriff said on Twitter.

Officials with Alaska Airlines confirmed the plane as a Bombardier Q400 that belongs to Horizon Air.

A Q400 Turboprop, like that stolen from Sea-Tac International Airport.

Pierce County Sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer told the Bellingham Herald that information was preliminary regarding the developing incident.

He also said he didn't want to land at a nearby military base, telling ground crews 'those guys will rough me up if I try and land there'. It said the jets were not involved in the crash.

"Rich" said: "I've got a lot of people that care about me".

The sheriff said earlier that the employee was a airline mechanic, but the airline said he was a ground service agent.

Ketron Island is a privately owned, 221-acre island with a population of 17 people, according to KIRO.

A reader board shows a number of flights delayed at Sea-Tac International Airport.

Fighter pilots from the Air National Guard of Washington and OR flew alongside the plane, according to an emailed statement from Gov. Jay Inslee.

Royal King of Mukilteo was photographing a wedding at Lake Steilacoom when he saw the low-flying plane and two fighter jets trailing it. As of 12:30 a.m., SeaTac tweeted that normal operations had resumed.

As Mr Waldron was preparing to "run and take cover", he says he looked back and "saw a bright, pinpoint area of flame".

In a recording posted to Broadcastify, the pilot can be heard calmly chatting with Air Traffic Control.

Witnesses at the airport, posting on social media, said they were told that someone had stolen an aircraft. "The smoke lingered. You could still hear the F-15s, which were flying low".

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