Stolen plane crashes after 'unauthorised take-off' from Seattle airport

Airline Worker Steals Aircraft, Crashes Near Seattle

An air traffic controller called the man "Rich", and tried to convince him to land the airplane.

The fighter planes intercepted the Q400 turboprop near Joint Base Lewis-McChord, NORAD said.

In one snippet, he even seems to consider landing at the runway he is being directed to, before saying "This is probably jail time for life, huh? It's going to disappoint them to hear that I did this", Rich said.

As reported by NBC, in his communications with the air traffic control tower, the man mentions "having a few screws loose" and showed signs of suicidal thoughts.

A Horizon Air passenger plane has crashed on Ketron Island south of Seattle after being stolen by an airline employee at SeaTac Airport around 8 pm on Friday.

Video footage on social media showed a large plane flying above the Seattle area with an F-15 following it.

The 29-year-old man, who has not been named, was suicidal and appeared to have acted alone, according to the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, which said the employee was believed to have been killed in the crash.

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Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air officials said they were still working closely with authorities to investigate what happened.

Terrorism was quickly ruled out as a motive, but the incident still led to a complete shutdown of air traffic in and out of Sea-Tac airport.

The married airport employee, 29, "hijacked" the Alaska Airlines plane before performing stunts in the sky as he was tailed by fighter jets today. "We are working back ground on him now", the Pierce County Sheriff wrote.

The couple traveled to Puerto Rico earlier this year, where Hannah Instagrammed a photo of them sitting on the beach with the caption: 'I'm so thankful for this man!'

"It may seem hard for those watching at home to believe, but Beebo was a warm, compassionate man", Mathews said.

"We just need to get out there and look at the wreckage", Eckrote said at a press briefing at the Steilacoom ferry dock. "Never really knew it until now".

"Oh, Richard", said the controller, "We're not going to worry or think about that".

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A ground service agent's responsibilities don't involve touching planes' controls, CNN aviation analyst Mary Schiavo said.

Military jets had been scrambled to chase the plane, according to the Times. His work as a ground agent included handling baggage, tidying airplanes and operating tow vehicles to move aircraft, and he was "fully credentialed and had access to that area legitimately".

"No security violations were committed", said Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden.

"To my knowledge, it's not that easy I know starting turbine engines you have to wait for a certain internal rotational speed before you add the fuel", said Alex Furois.

"I lift a lot of bags".

Dozens of personnel were out at the crash site, and co-workers and family members were being interviewed, he said.

Russell was not known to have had a pilot's licence, Horizon Air Chief Executive Gary Beck said at a news conference, and it was not clear how he was able to take off and fly as he did.

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