SeaTac Airport was temporarily grounded amid a security threat.
Military jets had been scrambled to chase the plane, according to the Times. "We might get lucky and find them pretty quick - we may be out there all day".
Beck said flying the "complex machine" would be more hard than a private plane.
This will be a major learning event for the aviation industry, CNN aviation analyst Justin Green said. Just a broken guy. It's going to disappoint them to hear that I did this. "I'm a broken guy who had a few screws loose. Never knew it, until now".
The man later said that he was sorry. It did not elaborate.
"Those guys will rough me up if I try and land there".
He went through various background checks to get clearance to be in the secured area, authorities said. "A couple of the turns, it looked like what we call in basic flight training a 'coordinated turn, ' meaning that he not only used the yoke ... but you also coordinate with the rudders and you do the turns".
John Waldron told CNN: "I started to capture video, just because I thought it was, kind of weird".
The man, identified only as Rich, seems obviously manic and disturbed in the released audio as air traffic controllers attempt to guide him to safety.
It is not believed that the man had any assistance in his theft, but authorities are still looking into how exactly he was able to gain control of the airplane.
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"I don't know, man", the pilot answers.
"I want to share how incredibly sad all of us at Alaska are about this incident. I was hoping that was going to be it, ya know".
The FBI is investigating the weird incident in conjunction with the National Transportation Safety Board and local law enforcement.
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 married mechanic - who has not been named - crashed on Ketron Island, 30 miles south west of Seattle, at 8pm local time. The jets were armed but did not open fire, North American Aerospace Defence Command spokesman Cameron Hillier said by phone. No one was injured on the ground, authorities said.
Kelly says someone on the ground or in the air traffic control tower should've noticed a plane was being moved when it shouldn't have been, but it took several minutes for that to happen, allowing the 29-year-old worker to take the plane into the air.
There was no connection to terrorism and no others were involved, said Troyer.
The plane was seen by a number of witnesses doing stunts before crashing.
Questions have been raised about how a plane can be stolen from a busy airport.
Beck described the flight as being an hour long before the crash on Ketron Island.
"N$3 o signs of what happened, that's for sure", Hayes said.