Employee steals plane from Seattle airport, crashes it shortly

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

A MECHANIC stole a plane from Seattle airport and joked with air traffic controllers before crashing into an island.

The 29-year-old Horizon Air ground service agent - the only person aboard - died, the Pierce County Sheriff's Department said, without further identifying him.

John Waldron, who took dramatic video of the stolen plane flying in a loop, told CNN that he was out for an evening stroll when he saw the two fighter jets following the turboprop airplane.

Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the sheriff's department, said on Twitter the man was suicidal and there was no connection to terrorism.

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air officials said they were still working closely with authorities to investigate what happened.

Sheriff Paul A. Pastor said at the press conference that there was no sign that it was a terrorist attack. Horizon is owned by Alaska Air Group, Inc., which also owns Alaska Airlines.

Beck said flying the "complex machine" would be more hard than a private plane.

"I want to thank the Air National Guard from Washington and OR for scrambling jets to keep Washingtonians safe", Inslee tweeted, adding: "Those pilots are trained for moments like tonight and showed they are ready and capable".

NBC reported that the man expressed distress about his mental health while communicating with the air traffic control tower. They're not as easy to fly as say a Cessna 150. "They probably got anti-aircraft!" "Never really knew it until now".

The audio between the man known as "Rich" and air traffic controllers further captured his demeanor.

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"We're lucky it went down on a very unpopulated island", Eckrote said. "Pilots kept the plane out of harm's way and people on ground safe", the sheriff said on Twitter.

He flew for about one hour, often erratically, before crashing on Ketron Island in Puget Sound, about 25 miles (40 km) to the southwest.

Investigators on Saturday will try to retrieve the plane's flight data recorder and its cockpit voice recorder. "I've played video games before, so I know what I'm doing a little bit".

They said F-15 fighter jets were scrambled from Portland and "made it within a few minutes of theft of plane".

"I've got a lot of people that care about me".

"In this plane, he certainly knew how to retract the landing gear; he coordinated both engines, powered them up to get a coordinated takeoff", she said.

Royal King told The Seattle Times he was photographing a wedding when he saw the low-flying turboprop being chased by two F-15s.

Dozens of personnel were out at the crash site, and co-workers and family members were being interviewed, he said.

The White House said Saturday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpKavanaugh once said president would likely have to testify before grand jury if subpoenaed: report Twitter says InfoWars account will remain online despite violating its rules Melania Trump family immigration lawyer praises so-called "chain migration" MORE, now staying at his Bedminster, New Jersey resort, had been briefed on the situation.

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