Seattle Airport Employee Takes Off In Stolen Plane, Crashes Nearby

No passengers were onboard and normal operations have resumed at the airfield

No passengers were onboard and normal operations have resumed at the airfield

With F-15 jets not far behind him, the man's intentions become clear as he spoke to air traffic controllers who were trying to get the man to safely land the plane.

Earlier in the flight, the man says: "This is probably, like, jail time for life, huh?"

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.

During the ordeal, the self-proclaimed pilot could be heard on audio recordings telling air traffic controllers that he is "just a broken guy".

The aircraft then crashed into Ketron Island, 40 km to the southwest of the Seattle/Tacoma Airport.

As Rich flew over the water, two F-15 fighter jets were dispatched to intercept the plane.

"The person who stole it was either doing it on a lark, or was suicidal", Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said on Friday.

At a news conference, officials from Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air said that they were working with authorities.

There was no connection to terrorism and no others were involved, said Troyer.

An airline employee allegedly hijacked a plane at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Friday night right before it crashed into the Puget Sound in Washington.

"Our hearts are with the families of the individual aboard as well as all of our Alaska Air and Horizon Air employees", said Constance von Muehlen, the airline's chief operating officer.

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"We are aware of an incident involving an unauthorized take-off of a Horizon Air Q400". Troyer said they are "working background on him now". "Uploading and downloading the plane", said Halbert.

Coaches at Wasilla High School in Alaska, where Russell was a football player, wrestler and discus thrower, told the Anchorage Daily News they are shocked at the news.

One witness filmed the plane doing a large loop-the-loop, which they first thought was part of an air show rehearsal.

Later the man said: "I've got a lot of people that care about me".

The wooded area is hard to access, and because there are no fire engines on the island, everything has to get to there via ferry, Adams said. "Never really knew it, until now", he added.

"Oh, Richard", the controller responds.

"Safety is our number one goal", Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden said.

The married mechanic - who has not been named - crashed on Ketron Island, 30 miles south west of Seattle, at 8pm local time.

Mr Russell, 29, who authorities say was suicidal and did not have a pilot's licence, died after the plane plummeted into a small island yesterday.

Investigators on Saturday will try to retrieve the plane's flight data recorder and its cockpit voice recorder. "I don't know how he achieved the experience that he did", Beck said. "The smoke lingered. You could still hear the F-15s, which were flying low". Near the end of the video, you can also see the aftermath of the crash.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said this morning that President Donald Trump is "monitoring the situation".

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