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'Suicidal' Alaska Airlines Mechanic Steals Empty Plane, Chased by Military Jets Before Crashing

Preliminary information suggests that the mechanic stole the Horizon Air Q400 and the crash occurred because the person was "doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills". Two military F-15s pursued the plane but were not involved in the crash,

Associated Press

Updated:August 11, 2018, 1:09 PM IST
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Seatac (Washington): An airline mechanic stole an Alaska Airlines plane without any passengers and took off from Sea-Tac International Airport in Washington state before crashing near Ketron Island, officials said on Saturday.

No passengers were onboard and normal operations have resumed at the airfield, the airport said on Twitter.

Preliminary information suggests that the mechanic stole the Horizon Air Q400 and the crash occurred because the person was "doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills," the Pierce County Sheriff's Department said, adding that there was no indication that the incident was an act of terror.

Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said the pilot appeared to have acted alone and was likely killed in the crash.

Two military F-15s pursued the plane but were not involved in the crash, KIRO7 news station in Seattle reported.

Sea-Tac officials said the airline employee had "conducted an unauthorized takeoff without passengers."

The US Coast Guard was sending a 45-foot vessel to the crash scene after witnesses reported seeing a large plume of smoke in the air, Petty Officer Ali Flockerzi said.

Horizon Air is part of Alaska Air Group and flies shorter routes throughout the US West. The Q400 ix a turboprop aircraft with 76 seats.

A spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration directed inquiries to local authorities.

| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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