'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,
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.
We are aware of an incident involving an unauthorized take-off of a Horizon Air Q400. We believe there are no passengers on board. More information as we learn more.— Alaska Airlines (@AlaskaAir) August 11, 2018
We've confirmed a Horizon Air Q400 that had an unauthorized takeoff from SeaTac around 8pm has gone down near Ketron Island in Pierce County, WA. We're working to confirm who was on board, we believe there were no guests or crew on board other than the person operating the plane.— Alaska Airlines (@AlaskaAir) August 11, 2018
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.
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