Stolen plane crashes near Sea-Tac International Airport; no passengers onboard

Mae Love
August 12, 2018

Eckrote, the NTSB investigator, said the investigation will focus on the man who stole the plane to determine his motives.

Sheriff's department spokesman Ed Troyer also confirmed that two U.S. Air Force F-15s intercepted the plane within minutes of its departure from Sea-Tac, but they were not involved in its crash near Ketron Island.

The plane crash, according to fire officials in the area, resulted in a fire that has since been upgraded to a 2nd alarm response.

The incident fell under the ongoing mission of Noble Eagle, the air-defense mission launched after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hillier said.

The US fighter jets chased the planes to divert the Horizon Air Q400 from the crowded area after the airline employee conducted an unauthorized takeoff without passengers.

"Oh man", Rich says, "those guys will rough me up if I try and land there".

The 29-year-old ground service agent, whose name was not released, hijacked a 76-seat Q400 aircraft belonging to Alaska Airlines' regional carrier Horizon around 7:30 p.m.

In a video posted on YouTube last December, Mr Russell shows luggage coming off and being loaded onto aircraft, and describes what the life of a ground service agent can entail. "It's going to disappoint them to hear that I did this", he said.

Richard Bloom, an aviation security expert at Arizona's Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, said he wasn't aware of another incident in which a ground crew member managed to heist an airplane.

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In one, the controller can be heard telling the pilot: "What we don't want to see is you get hurt or anyone else get hurt, so like I said, if you want to land, that's probably the best way to go". 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. Got a few screws loose. Video showed fiery flames amidst trees on the island, which is sparsely populated and only accessible by ferry. "Normal operations at Sea-Tac Airport have resumed", the airport wrote.

The crash sparked a fire in the dense forest.

"It is highly fragmented", she said of the plane.

Investigators expect they will be able to recover both the cockpit voice recorder and the event data recorder from the plane.

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Currently, the FBI has taken over the investigation of the incident and Alaska Air has stated that they are working with authorities and their own safety teams to "thoroughly understand the incident".

Gary is at Sea-Tac, I'm in Pierce County headed to where witnesses saw plane chased by F-15s, then a boom, and smoke.

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

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