Published: Sun, August 12, 2018
Business | By Eloise Houston

Mechanic steals empty plane from Seattle's airport, crashes

Mechanic steals empty plane from Seattle's airport, crashes

An airline employee "conducted an unauthorised takeoff" of an airplane carrying no passengers at the major airport in the northwestern U.S. state of Washington, airport officials said on Twitter.

Fortunately, the only death in the crash was the unnamed joyrider, who still has not yet been named, although air-traffic controllers call him "Rich" during their exchanges.

Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, said on Twitter that the man was suicidal and there was no connection to terrorism.

President Donald Trump has been briefed on the man who stole a plane from Sea-Tac International Airport in Seattle before crashing it into a small, nearby island.

"The guy didn't know how to fly or intentionally did stunts over Anderson Island, and crashed into Ketron Island", he said, adding that the FBI is now involved in the investigation. Normal operations at Sea-Tac have resumed.

The governor of Washington, Jay Inslee, thanked the Air National Guard from Washington and OR on Twitter "for scrambling jets to keep Washingtonians safe".

Authorities said an airline employee had made "an unauthorised take-off" without any passengers on board.

Tilden and Horizon Air's CEO, Gary Beck, noted that the doors of the Bombardier Q400 turboprop plane had no locks, and that the engines can be started without a key, simply by flipping a series of switches and levers.

A Horizon Air Bombardier Dash 8 Q400, reported to be hijacked, flies upside down over University Place, Washington, the US, before crashing in the South Puget Sound, August 10, 2018 in this still image taken from a video obtained from social media. I was thinking, like, I'm going to have this moment of serenity, take in all the sights.

"Even just ground people working on the planes, they have access to inside the planes on ramp", Stratman said. "I would hope it is for a guy like me", he said.

"I want to share how incredibly sad all of us at Alaska are about this incident". It can carry 76 passengers and has boarding doors in both the front and rear of the plane.

Military jets had been scrambled to chase the plane, according to the Times.

"Nah, I mean, I don't need that much help; I've played some video games before".

"I appreciate the quick reaction and professionalism of our airmen and the entire NORAD team who were on alert today, as they are every day of the year", Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy, commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, said Friday night in a statement.

The air-traffic controller responded calmly, seeming not to want to upset Rich as the conversation continued and he tried to coax Rich into landing somewhere. "Never knew it, until now".

"So, (he) had some knowledge but clearly wasn't a commercial pilot". Investigators confirmed he was a 3-and-a-half year employee for Horizon Air who worked as a ground service agent.

When asked to land he says: "I don't know, man". [The plane did] a complete loop.

Debra Eckrote, a regional chief with the National Transportation Safety Board, says the wings are off the plane and the fuselage is upside down.

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