AP reports that a “suicidal” airline mechanic stole an empty Horizon Airlines plane, took off from Sea-Tac International Airport and was chased by military jets before crashing near a small island in the Puget Sound on Friday night, officials said.
Preliminary information suggests that the 29-year-old mechanic stole the Horizon Air Q400 and the crash occurred because he was “doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills,” the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said.
Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, said on Twitter the man was suicidal and there was no connection to terrorism.
AP: Officials at Sea-Tac International Airport say an Alaska Airlines plane that was stolen by an airline employee and has crashed in Washington state.
Airport officials say in a tweet Friday night that an airline employee “conducted an unauthorized takeoff without passengers.”
Witnesses reported seeing the plane being chased by military aircraft near the airport.
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said on Twitter that preliminary information suggested that a mechanic had stolen the aircraft. The tweet said the crash may have been caused by the mechanic “doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills.”
A Coast Guard spokeswoman said the agency was responding to a report of a smoke plume and possible plane crash. Petty Officer Ali Flockerzi said a 45-foot vessel was headed to the scene.
Alaska Airlines has said it is aware of an incident involving an unauthorised take-off of one of its planes in Washington state.
Witnesses reported a jet being chased by military jets near Sea-Tac International Airport in Seattle.
The US Coast Guard said it is responding to reports of a large smoke plume, possibly following a plane crash.
The airline said the plane was a Horizon Air Q400 and believed no passengers were on board.
Horizon Air is part of Alaska Air Group and flies shorter routes throughout the US west.