'Stolen' plane closes Seattle airport before crashing into sea

'Stolen' plane closes Seattle airport before crashing into sea

Federal authorities on Saturday were seeking to learn what drove an airline worker to steal an empty airplane from Seattle's airport in a security scare that caused the scrambling of USA fighter jets and ended when the plane crashed onto a sparsely populated island.

"No others involved", the Pierce County Sheriff said.

Authorities initially said the man was a mechanic, but Alaska Airlines later said he was believed to be a ground service agent employed by Horizon.

It is reported that the aircraft crashed near Ketron Island outside Seattle. The employee - whose identity has not been released - stole the passenger plane from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport around 8 PM.

Gov. Jay Inslee thanked the Air National Guard from Washington and OR for scrambling jets and said in a statement "there are still a lot of unknowns surrounding tonight's tragic incident". Tilden said the airplane was parked in a maintenance area known as Cargo 1 on the north side of the airport when the employee gained access.

A user on Twitter captured video of the Horizon Q400 plane that made an unauthorized takeoff from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Friday as it was flying. The Q400 ix a turboprop aircraft with 76 seats.

He said he didn't want to disappoint them but that he was "just a broken guy, got a dew screws loose, I guess". "Well I hope it would be for a guy like me".

In addition to disrupting air traffic control, the incident also caused alarm among locals, many of whom recorded the incident. However, "Rich" also later tells them that he can't figure out how to pressurize the plane and that he's getting "lightheaded" after having vomited at least once.

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Video from a witness on the ground shows the plane at one point doing a loop, putting the aircraft upside-down, then pulling up just feet above a body of water. "They're not as easy to fly as, say, a Cessna 150, so I don't know how he achieved the experience that he did", Beck said.

The air-traffic controller responded calmly, seeming not to want to upset Rich as the conversation continued and he tried to coax Rich into landing somewhere.

A tweet from Sea-Tac confirmed that the plane crashed in south Puget Sound.

The status of the man, described by authorities as "suicidal", was not immediately clear Saturday morning. "Never knew it, until now". The rogue pilot was aauthorized to operate the equipment that tows airplanes to and from runways.

Scott Adams, a battalion chief with West Pierce Fire and Rescue, said about 10:30 p.m. the crash had started a grass fire, and that two fire engines, a medic unit and a command unit were at the site, along with firefighting staff from Joint Base Lewis-McChord. "I don't wanna, I don't know".

"So, (he) had some knowledge but clearly wasn't a commercial pilot". However, the better method of preventing this kind of scenario is to make sure joyriders or terrorists can't simply swipe the plane at whim.

The FBI's Seattle field office said on Twitter it was working with local, state and federal partners, but it was "too early for us to put out details on the evolving situation".