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Authorities probe how 'suicidal' employee could steal plane from Seattle airport

12 August 2018

The commercial pilot, who was not authorized to speak to the media, said the Bombardier Q400 aircraft has the same autopilot systems used on Boeing and Airbus jets.

In a statement to PEOPLE, Alaska Airlines said, "We are aware of an incident involving an unauthorized take-off of a Horizon Air Q400".

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee also thanked the Air National Guard from Washington and OR for scrambling jets.

The Alaska Airlines plane that was stolen by an airline employee from Seattle-Tacoma International airport has crashed in Washington's South Puget Sound.

Alaska Airlines planes sit on the tarmac at Sea-Tac International Airport Friday evening, August 10, 2018, in SeaTac, Wash.

Spokesmen for the Transportation Security Administration, the US Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Aviation Administration directed inquiries to local authorities.

The hijacker has been described as a 29-year-old mechanic who worked for an "unknown airline". Dozens of personnel were out at the crash site, and co-workers and family members were being interviewed, he said.

The FBI's Seattle office said the plane's theft and crash weren't considered terrorism.

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Video showed the Horizon Air Q400 doing large loops and other risky maneuvers as the sun set on Puget Sound. There were no passengers aboard.

"The person who stole it was either doing it on a lark, or was suicidal", Pastor said, adding there was no indication anyone else was on the plane. Two military F-15s were scrambled to pursue the plane, but were not involved in the crash.

Southers, the aviation security expert, said the man could have caused mass destruction.

"Norad fighters did not fire upon the aircraft", it said.

"If this guy had evil intent, I'm not sure there's any way the F-15s could have stopped him from flying into Safeco Field", Curtis said. "We're the processor; the employee (Horizon) is the steward", the source said.

Witness reports and videos posted on social media showed the plane making a loop, then flying low over a body of water, trailed by at least one fighter jet.

The man who stole the plane is believed to be a ground service agent.

The plane was taken from a maintenance position and was not scheduled for a passenger flight, said Gary Beck, Horizon Air's president and chief executive officer.

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A Horizon Air Bombardier Dash 8 Q400, reported to be hijacked, flies over University Place, Washington, the USA, before crashing in the South Puget Sound, August 10, 2018 in this still image taken from a video obtained from social media. The Q400 is a turboprop aircraft with 76 seats.

Later on the pilot says: "I've got a lot of people that care about me".

He appeared to be suicidal, based on his conversations with air traffic control.

"There is the runway just about a mile off your right side, do you see that?"

In the chilling recording, he revealed he was a "broken man" and apologised to the air traffic controller. No one was injured on the ground, authorities said. I was thinking, like, I'm going to have this moment of serenity, take in all the sights.

Late yesterday's full stop at Seattle's Sea-Tac airport turned out to have a weird and ultimately tragic reason.

There were some stunts performed apparently by the plane over the sound and then he crashed into Ketron Island a small, not very highly populated wooded island, just off shore here.

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Authorities probe how 'suicidal' employee could steal plane from Seattle airport