Airport worker steals airliner before crashing it near Seattle

Horizon Air Dash 8-Q400 (Image: Eric Salard/CC BY-SAS2.0)
Horizon Air Dash 8-Q400 (Image: Eric Salard/CC BY-SA2.0)

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”.

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”.

About Nick Harding 526 Articles
Nick is the senior reporter and editor at UK Aviation News as well as working freelance elsewhere. He has his finger firmly on the pulse on Aviation, not only in the UK but worldwide. Nick has been asked to speak in a professional capacity on LBC, Heart and other broadcast networks.