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Airline Worker Steals Aircraft, Crashes Near Seattle

12 August 2018

They did not take questions from reporters.

The sheriff's office said they believed the crash was caused by "doing stunts in [the] air or lack of flying skills".

The site on Ketron Island in Washington state where an Horizon Air turboprop plane crashed after it was stolen from Sea-Tac International Airport is seen from the air, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, near Steilacoom, Wash.

The incident closed the Seattle airport to arrivals and departures for a short time, but flights have since returned to normal.

Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor described the incident as a "joyride gone terribly wrong", adding that the pilot "did something foolish and may well have paid with his life".

There were no reports of injuries on the ground, he said, except presumably the pilot.

The man, who was a ground agent at Sea-Tac Airport and not a pilot, eventually crashed on Ketron Island and died.

"Here we have an employee who was vetted to the level to have access to the aircraft and had a skill set proficient enough to take off with that plane", he said.

Alaska Airlines said no structures on the ground were damaged.

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On 10 August, the 29-year-old mechanic at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport stole a Horizon Air 76-seat passenger airplane.

A nearby military base dispatched two F-15 fighter jets, who diverted the aircraft away from residents, before it crashed into a nearby island. The aircraft nose-dives toward the water before pulling up, flying low and sending locals into a panic.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command said Saturday it dispatched two F-15C alert aircraft from Portland to intercept the plane.

The jets were armed but did not fire on the aircraft, Air Force Capt. Cameron Hillier, a NORAD spokesman, told The Washington Post on Saturday.

"There is a protocol to not allow anyone singularly to get onboard an aircraft", Soucie said.

He stressed that it was not a terrorism-related incident. The aircraft can fly at speeds of 1,875 miles per hour, according to

"You know, the mama orca with the baby".

"I don't want to hurt no one".

Audio exchanges between an air traffic controller and the pilot have been released.

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The air traffic control staffer assures him they don't have that, and says they just want to find a safe place for him to land.

"I'm not quite ready to bring it down just yet", Richard said.

Authorities say the man went through various background checks to get clearance to be in the secured area.

The statement was read by family friend Mike Matthews, on behalf of Mr Russell's loved ones, who pleaded for privacy for the family and said this would be the only time the family would address the media. "I hope they can make it through this", he added. "The situation was not their fault but I think they could have given a little more guidance or announced to the plane this is what's going on instead of leaving us all to fend for ourselves", said Leddy.

"Just a broke guy, got a few screws loose I guess. Never really knew it, until now", Richard Russell said at one point. "I've played some video games before", he said.

The controller responds: "OK, Rich".

The Federal Aviation Administration said: 'We can't confirm anything at this time.

One user tweeted, "Some dude stole a plane from #Seatac (Allegedly), did a loop-the-loop, nearly crashed into #ChambersBay, then crossed in front of our party, chased by fighter jets and subsequently crashed".

'It was unfathomable, it was something out of a movie, ' he told the newspaper.

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When asked about Russell's mental condition Tabb replied, "It's too early to comment on that". "It's kind of surprising that these types of things don't happen more often".

Airline Worker Steals Aircraft, Crashes Near Seattle