Airline Employee Crashes Empty Plane After Unauthorized Takeoff From Seattle Airport

Airline Employee Crashes Empty Plane After Unauthorized Takeoff From Seattle Airport

A stolen airplane belonging to the Alaska Airlines crashed near Seattle's Sea-Tac International Airport late on Friday.

A "SUICIDAL" airline mechanic stole an empty Horizon Air plane from Sea-Tac International Airport and was chased by military jets before crashing into a small island.

Normal operations at the airport were interrupted briefly but have resumed, the airport said.

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

Witnesses reported seeing the plane being chased by military aircraft before it crashed near Ketron Island, southwest of Tacoma, Washington.

The plane was a Horizon Air Q400, according to a statement from Horizon's partner airline Alaska Airlines.

The plane, a 76-seater Q400 turboprop aircraft, belonged to Alaska Airlines.

The unauthorized pilot was described by the Pierce County Sheriff's Department as a "suicidal male".

Investigators said the man acted alone.

Weird audio from the cockpit reveals how air traffic control tried to talk him into landing the plane.

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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". The plane, which was taken from a maintenance position and was not scheduled for passenger flight, crashed about an hour later in a wooded area on Ketron Island in rural Pierce County.

On a live air-traffic control feed, the person flying the plane could be heard speaking with an air-traffic controller who addressed him as Rich and Richard.

Authorities reportedly tried to intercept the plane with an F-15 aircraft.

"Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess".

Royal King of Mukilteo was photographing a wedding at Lake Steilacoom when he saw the low-flying plane and two fighter jets trailing it.

A plume of smoke has been seen near Ketron Island, Washington, the US Coastguard reported.

Black smoke was spotted pouring from the crash site.

Local authorities quickly ruled out terrorism as a motive for the incident, and said the F-15s "were not involved in the crash".

This is a developing story.

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