United States airline worker steals plane, takes it for flight before crashing it

Alaska Airlines said the stolen plane belonged to their sister carrier Horizon Air

According to the Pierce County Sheriff's office, the suspected hijacker is a 29-year-old airline mechanic, who allegedly performed aerial stunts with the plane. He described him as a white male, age 29, who may have mental health problems. He is reported to be a Pierce County resident.

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

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".

Investigators headed Saturday to the crash site to recover the plane's data recorders and the man's remains as part of a criminal probe, authorities said.

In a recording posted to Broadcastify, the pilot can be heard calmly chatting with Air Traffic Control. Just a broken guy. "Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess". "Never knew it until now".

Beck marvelled at the amateur piloting.

The pilot, identified as "Rich", comes across as excitable, confused, and even apologetic in a conversation with the control tower. "He was always trying to be faster, but, yet, he still worked in a safe manner". "I met Hannah in Coos Bay, Oregon in 2010 while we were both going to school", the about me section says.

Ground control advises him to wait. No structures on the ground were damaged by the plane, which sparked a small wildfire. Moments later they heard an explosion.

Ms Morse's mother, who lives closer to the area where the plane went down, said her whole house shook. He says Beebo was recently moved from the grounds crew to the tow team.

A stolen Horizon Air passenger plane flies above Puget Sound.

Kaelin said Russell "was always great to work with - we got our flights out on time, if not early, most of the time". "This is what we call the inside risk", he said, explaining that the security measures should not only be aimed at passengers, but also at employees. We have police boats, we have everybody responding.

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"We just need to get out there and look at the wreckage", Eckrote said at a press briefing at the Steilacoom ferry dock. "We are sending resources and people".

North American Aerospace Defense Command scrambled two F-15 fighter jets to deal with the Horizon Air plane.

All departures and arrivals were halted at the busy airport for some time but have since resumed.

The FBI is involved in the investigation, Troyer said.

At one point, an air traffic controller asked if Russell felt comfortable flying.

"That means I lift a lot of bags, like a lot of bags, so many bags", he says, adding, "it allows me to do some pretty cool things, too". "I would like to apologise to each and every one of them", he said. "I would like to apologize to each and everyone one of them", said Russell.

While in the air, Russell joked for almost 20 minutes with the air traffic control agent, but admitted he had "a few screws loose" and called himself "just a broken guy".

He then said: "I wouldn't know how to land - I wasn't really planning on landing it".

Royal King told The Seattle Times he was photographing a wedding when he saw the low-flying turboprop being chased by to F-15s. "Regular ramp agents wouldn't know", said Halbert.

After the plane approached Ketron Island, Waldron saw a thick column of smoke followed by a loud explosion, he said.

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

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