Authorities Investigate the Circumstances Surrounding 'Suicidal' Employee Who Stole a Plane

Alaska Airlines has confirmed an'unauthorised take-off in Seattle

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee released a statement, thanking Air National Guard from Washington and OR for their quick response, and saying, "There are still a lot of unknowns surrounding tonight's tragic incident of a stolen Horizon Airline plane from Sea-Tac Airport". Although he never claimed he was trying to kill himself while conversing with air traffic controllers, some of his comments about never intending to land the plane and having a few "screws loose" indicate he may have had suicidal intentions and/or was mentally ill.

The Sheriff's Department said it was "not a terrorist incident".

Authorities initially said the man was a mechanic, but Alaska Airlines later said he was believed to be a ground service agent employed by Horizon.

Local media citing sources at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) air force base said one or more F-15 fighter planes contacted the rogue aircraft and it crashed soon afterwards.

The incident shut down Sea-Tac Airport but flights are returning to normal.

He flew it for an hour, followed by two armed F-15 jets from OR that the military scrambled, before he crashed. On Saturday, Alaska said he handled baggage and towed aircraft at the airport.

Authorities said an airline employee had made "an unauthorised take-off" without any passengers on board. The Q400 ix a turboprop aircraft with 76 seats.

A Horizon Air Bombardier Dash 8 Q400, reported to be hijacked, flies 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. Later, he said he's "got a lot of people that care about me".

Tilden declined to name the employee, but said he was hired by Horizon Air in February 2015.

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Witnesses described the surreal scene after the plane left the airport.

A witness on the ground, Bryan Sichley, said he was at Chambers Bay in Tacoma and saw a plane nose dive after being chased by two fighter jets. In audio clips, he told controllers that "I don't need that much help". He documented his feelings working at the job on his social media and said he liked to travel and was hoping to one day work in a management position at the company.

Released radio conversation between the man and air traffic controllers goes on for more than a half hour.

He crashed the plane in a wooded area of Ketron Island, 25 miles south of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

"So, (he) had some knowledge but clearly wasn't a commercial pilot".

"Our hearts are with the family of the individual aboard, as well as all our Alaska Air and Horizon Air employees", she said.

Southers says that if the man knew how to do loops he likely had the skills to target people on the ground. I don't want to. There is now a background check being done on him to see if a possible motive can be found. [The plane did] a complete loop.

No records for a pilot license for the man thought to have stolen the plane could be found on the Federal Aviation Administration website.

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