FBI Seeks Motive After US Airline Worker Stole Plane And Crashed It

Alaska Airlines has confirmed an'unauthorised take-off in Seattle

"We are aware of an incident involving an unauthorized take-off of a Horizon Air Q400".

The governor of Washington, Jay Inslee, thanked the Air National Guard from Washington and OR on Twitter "for scrambling jets to keep Washingtonians safe".

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee released a statement, thanking Air National Guard from Washington and OR for their quick response, and saying, "There are still a lot of unknowns surrounding tonight's tragic incident of a stolen Horizon Airline plane from Sea-Tac Airport".

"Safety is our number one goal", Alaska Airlines CEO Mr Tilden said.

"Okay this insane. A pilot on the plane in front of us just went rogue and took off on an empty plane bypassing orders from the tower", tweeted Ben Schaechter, a passenger on an airplane that was taxiing to take off before the incident.

"There are still a lot of unknowns surrounding tonight's tragic incident of a stolen Horizon Airline plane from Sea-Tac Airport", Inslee said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said: 'We can't confirm anything at this time.

The "suicidal" man who commandeered and crashed a plane without passengers from a U.S. airport in Washington state seemed excited, confused, and at times calm while talking with the air traffic control tower. Dozens of personnel were out at the crash site, and co-workers and family members were being interviewed, he said.

There was no connection to terrorism and no others were involved, said Troyer.

Video showed the Horizon Air Q400 doing large loops and other unsafe maneuvers as the sun set on the Puget Sound. There were no passengers aboard.

A plane that reportedly took off without permission has sparked a major security incident at Seattle-Tacoma worldwide airport.

The plane was chased by military aircraft, witnesses said.

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Pastor said the man "did something foolish and may well have paid with his life".

Investigators said they don't believe Russell had a pilot's license and they're unsure how he was able to fly the way he did.

"That means I lift a lot of bags, like a lot of bags, so many bags", he says, adding, "it allows me to do some pretty cool things, too".

"I'm down to 2,100 (pounds) [952 kilos]", he says, "I don't know what the burnage is like on takeoff, but it burned quite a bit faster than I expected".

Military fighter jets were scrambled and followed the plane which then crashed near Ketron Island, south west of Tacoma, Washington. Video showed flames amidst trees on the island, which is sparsely populated and only accessible by ferry. Some unconfirmed reports on social media said he was believed to be an airline mechanic.

Air traffic controllers and pilots could be heard discussing a "ground stop" and dealing with a backlog of aircraft.

Two F-15 fighter jets scrambled from Portland "minutes later" to intercept it, according to Pierce County Sheriff's Office. Horizon Air is a division of Alaskan that flies shorter routes in the western US. A Cessna 150 is a two-seat civilian aircraft.

He appeared to be suicidal, based on his conversations with air traffic control.

During the radio exchange, an air traffic control personnel by the name of Captain Bill attempted to steer Rich away from flying over the airport in order to avoid a collision that would risk the lives of multiple people.

One witness filmed the plane doing a large loop-the-loop, which they first thought was part of an air show rehearsal. "It's going to disappoint them to hear that I did this".

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".

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