Plane crashes after airline employee’s solo ‘unauthorized takeoff’ from Seattle airport

Alaska Airlines planes are seen at Seattle Tacoma International Airport in SeaTac Wash. Oct. 30 2013

A sheriff's department spokesman said the man may have been suicidal but there was no terrorism connection.

In a statement, the airport said: "An airline employee conducted an unauthorized takeoff without passengers at Sea-Tac; aircraft has crashed in south Puget Sound". The employee was a "ground service agent", according to Alaska Airlines. He crashed almost an hour after the plane was taken from a maintenance area, though officials said that it did not appear that the fighter jets were involved in the crash of the aircraft.

"Commercial aircrafts are complex machines".

Russell's heartbreaking exchange with air traffic controllers ― who called him "Rich" ― was broadcast live and could be heard online.

An airline mechanic who stole a Horizon Air plane from a Seattle airport told air traffic controllers that he was a "broken guy" but also joked about whether the airline would hire him as a pilot if he landed safely.

"I've got a lot of people that care about me", the man later said.

"I would like to apologize to each and every one of them", the man added.

"Got a few screws loose, I guess", Russell is heard saying in the recording.

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

Pastor said the man "did something foolish and may well have paid with his life". We have police boats, we have everybody responding.

SUICIDE PREVENTION HELP: If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting "Home" to 741741. "I played video games before so, you know, I know what I'm doing a little bit". "I was hoping that was going to be it, ya know". He flew it for an hour, followed by two armed F-15 jets from OR that the military scrambled, before he crashed.

Royal King, a Seattle-area resident in the area to photograph a wedding, was near the island when the plane cratered into the island, the Times reported. The Department of Natural Resources said two acres burned. They also will work to recover the remains of the 29-year-old Pierce County man thought to be the only person on the plane. The jets were not involved in the crash, it said. Those pilots are trained for moments like tonight and showed they are ready and capable.

Witnesses described the surreal scene after the plane left the airport.

Military jets had been scrambled to chase the plane, according to the Times. "It's going to disappoint them to hear that I did this". After flying around an unpredictable path, the plane crashed at a nearby island.

"N$3 o signs of what happened, that's for sure", Hayes said. Ketron Island is a sparsely populated island 25 miles (40 km) southwest of the airport. He was believed to have been killed in the crash. We believe there are no passengers on board.

Law enforcement officials have identified him to U.S. media, Agence France-Presse said.

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The co-ordinates for an orca carrying her dead calf on her back which featured in the news last week.

Officials said yesterday that to their knowledge, he wasn't a licensed pilot.

Video showed the Horizon Air Q400, a turboprop plane that seats 76 people, doing large loops and other risky maneuvers as the sun set on Puget Sound.

It crashed about an hour after it was stolen and did not hit any ground structures.

"That's their job, to be around these planes", said Brad Tilden, president and CEO of Alaska.

Horizon Air COO Constance von Muehlen said in a late-night video message "our hearts are with the family of the individual onboard as well as all our Alaska Air and Horizon Air employees". The FBI said Friday night it was investigating the incident alongside other agencies.

Erroll Southers, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and transportation security expert, told AP "the greatest threat we have to aviation is the insider threat".

"This is a complete shock to us". About 45 minutes after the crash, normal operations resumed.

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