An airport worker has stolen a Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 from Seattle Tacoma airport in an apparent suicide.
The aircraft belonging to Alaska Airlines subsidiary Horizon Air was stolen by a mechanic who ATC communications identified as “Rich” before taking off from the airport without permission.
The man then flew a series of erratic maneuvers before crashing into Ketron Island in the Puget Sound.
Shortly after take off, F15’s were scrambled from an US air base in Portland. The two jet fighters shadowed the aircraft around the Seattle area but are understood not to have engaged the aircraft.
In a communication heard by UK Aviation News “Rich” informed ATC was going to do a barrel roll before “pushing the nose down and calling it a night”.
Some dude stole a plane from #Seatac (Allegedly), did a loop-the-loop, ALMOST crashed into #ChambersBay, then crossed in front of our party, chased by fighter jets and subsequently crashed. Weird times. pic.twitter.com/Ra4LcIhwfU
— bmbdgty (@drbmbdgty) August 11, 2018
The man, believed to be in his late 20’s, is understood to have died in the crash and police have stated that this is not a terrorist incident.
Seattle Tacoma Airport said: “An airline employee conducted an unauthorized takeoff without passengers at Sea-Tac; aircraft has crashed in south Puget Sound. Normal operations at Sea-Tac Airport have resumed.” while Horizon Air chief executive Constance Van Muehlen said the company’s “hearts are with the family of the individual aboard as well as all of our Alaska Air and Horizon Air employees”.