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Alaska Airlines worker steals plane from Seattle airport, crashes nearby

11 August, 2018, 19:56 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • Jet stolen from SeaTac has crashed on Ketron Island in Pierce County

An airline worker stole an empty plane from Seattle airport on Friday and crashed it into a nearby sparsely populated island, sparking a security scare that saw US fighter jets scrambled.

The plane, which PCSD identified as belonging to Horizon Air, crashed into Ketron Island. There were no passengers aboard.

The pilot - who has not yet been formally named but is addressed as "Rich" in the recordings - says he's "got a lot of people that care about me" and that he was "just a broken guy".

Two F-15s fighter jets pursued the plane but were not involved in the crash, local TV station KIRO7 reported.

Irvington Billingsworth said he was at Chambers Bay Golf Course, which is southwest of Tacoma, when suddenly he saw a plane flying very low overhead.

The sheriff's department said they were working to conduct a background investigation on the man, whose name was not immediately released.

The 29-year-old mechanic who stole a plane from a Seattle airport before crashing it into the ground was recorded telling air traffic controllers that he is "just a broken guy".

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

"Our hearts are with the family of the individual aboard, along with all of our Alaska Air and Horizon Air employees", the airline said in a video statement posted to Twitter early Saturday.

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The 76-seater aircraft took off without authorization Friday night with an airline employee at the controls, airport officials tweeted.

The aircraft was stolen about 8 p.m. Alaska Airlines said it was in a "maintenance position" and not scheduled for a passenger flight.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) thanked the Air National Guard from Washington and OR for scrambling the jets, which "were ready to do whatever was needed to protect us", he said in a statement.

Communication between Rich and air traffic controllers revealed a conversation between authorities and Rich, whose boisterously says he fueled the plane "to go check out the Olympics [mountains] ... and uh, yeah". I don't know! I don't want to.

The airport said that normal operations at the airport were interrupted briefly but have since resumed. I would like to apologize to each and every one of them.

The air-traffic control says they don't have those weapons. The man sounds calm at times and jokes with operators on the ground, who try to direct him to places to land. His identity and condition are unknown. "Never really knew it until now". "I was kind of hoping that was gonna be it". He was chased by military jets before crashing into an island in the Puget Sound. He added, "The responding fighter pilots flew alongside the aircraft and were ready to do whatever was needed to protect us, but in the end the man flying the stolen plane crashed".

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

President Donald Trump was briefed on the incident and is monitoring the situation, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Saturday morning.

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