'Suicidal' mechanic stole empty plane then crashed into island after F15 chase

'Suicidal' mechanic stole empty plane then crashed into island after F15 chase

A Horizon Air Q400 turboprop made an unauthorized takeoff from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Friday night and crashed in the south Puget Sound, according to Alaska Airlines.

Two f-15 fighter jets were scrambled from nearby Portland to intercept the aircraft, though police said they ultimately had no role in its crash at Puget Sound just north of Seattle, in the state of Washington.

The plane was piloted by a 29-year-old Pierce County man and crashed on Ketron Island, the Pierce County Sheriff's Office said.

An airline worker stole an empty plane from Seattle airport on Friday and crashed it into a nearby sparsely populated island, sparking a security scare that saw US fighter jets scrambled. The tweet said the crash may have been caused by the mechanic 'doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills'.

Horizon Air is part of Alaska Air Group and flies shorter routes throughout the U.S. West. This individual who took the aircraft, who has not yet been positively identified until remains are examined, is believed to have been the only person on the plane when the plane was taken from a maintenance position at Sea-Tac. The man's condition wasn't immediately known.

The Pierce County Sheriff said the man who stole the plane was "suicidal" and confirmed the incident was not related to terrorism. Witnesses said a. plane is going down. Preliminary information had suggested it was stolen by a mechanic.

Pastor said the plane crashed on the island, with a population of 20 people.

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The man was a resident of Pierce County, Wash., and "acted alone", the Pierce County Sheriff's Department tweeted.

Video from the scene shows the plane, which had no passengers on board, fly upside down while being tracked by fighter jets.

Alaska Airlines planes sit on the tarmac at Sea-Tac International Airport Friday evening.

"We can see evidence of fire on the hillside here on this island", he said in a reporter standup.

Released radio conversation between the man and air traffic controllers goes on for more than a half hour.

According to the Seattle Times, air traffic control, who referred to the man by what is believed to be his first name, tried to encourage him to land. "But that's what's happening at Sea-Tac Airport right now".

"It was unfathomable, it was something out of a movie", he told the newspaper. "The smoke lingered. You could still hear the F-15s, which were flying low". As of 12:30 a.m., SeaTac tweeted that normal operations had resumed.

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