An airline employee reportedly stole a Horizon Air plane from Sea-Tac International Airport in Washington state Friday night before crashing it in the Puget Sound.
The suspect, identified as a 29-year-old ground service agent, stole the 76-seat, turboprop aircraft around 8:00 p.m., according to The Associated Press.
Shortly after takeoff, the plane crashed just south of Seattle on Ketron Island in the Puget Sound. The suspect told air traffic controllers en route that he did not want to disappoint the people who care for him, but that he was just learning that he was “a broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess.”
Officials urged the suspect to land the plane at a nearby military base, however, he refused saying “Those guys will rough me up if I try and land there.” He also joked with air traffic control, asking if they would hire him as a pilot if he landed the aircraft safely. (RELATE: Airlines Are Quietly Cutting Corners On Costs And Pilot Experience)
Horizon Air is a regional operator owned by Alaska Air Group — Alaska Airlines later confirmed the incident on twitter.
“We’ve confirmed a Horizon Air Q400 that had an unauthorized takeoff from SeaTac around 8pm has down near Ketron Island in Pierce County, WA. We’re working to confirm who was on board, we believe there were no guests or crew on board other than the person operating the plane.”
We’ve confirmed a Horizon Air Q400 that had an unauthorized takeoff from SeaTac around 8pm has gone down near Ketron Island in Pierce County, WA. We’re working to confirm who was on board, we believe there were no guests or crew on board other than the person operating the plane.
— Alaska Airlines (@AlaskaAir) August 11, 2018
The Associated Press later confirmed that there were no passengers on board. The suspect was considered to be “suicidal” and the incident was unrelated to terrorism. It is unclear whether the plane crashed on its own or if it was shot down. Alaska Airlines said in a statement the man has not yet been positively identified until the remains are examined.
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