'Suicidal' airline mechanic steals plane at Seattle-Tacoma Airport and crashes near Puget Sound

sea tac plane incident

  • A “suicidal” airplane mechanic took off in a plane without permission at Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) Airport in Seattle, Washington, and later crashed in Puget Sound, the airport confirmed Friday night.
  • The mechanic was killed. There were no other passengers on board.
  • No one on the ground was hurt.

A Horizon Air mechanic described as “suicidal” took off in a plane without permission at Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) Airport in Seattle, Washington, and later crashed near Ketron Island, the airport and law-enforcement officials confirmed Friday night.

The mechanic was killed. There were no other passengers or crew members on board.

Two F-15 fighter jets were scrambled out of Portland, Oregon, within minutes to track the wayward plane, said Ed Troyer, the public information officer for the Pierce County Sheriff.

The ordeal began around 11 p.m. ET. Alaska Airlines, the parent company of Horizon Air, acknowledged the incident in a statement, saying a Horizon Air Q400 plane was involved. A Q400 can seat as many as 78 passengers.

The US Coast Guard responded to the crash site where a “large smoke plume” was seen, NBC News reported. The plane was allegedly “flying around Puget Sound,” before it went down. Rescue boats were on scene.

Broadcast images of the crash site showed burning forest land in an apparently dense, dark area near Ketron Island.

sea-tac plane incident

Sea-Tac Airport returned to normal operations after a brief ground stop Friday night.

Troyer described the person who took the plane as a 29-year-old “suicidal male” who had lived in Pierce County. “This is not a terrorist incident,” he added

The man could be heard talking to air traffic controllers while he was in the air. At one point he called himself “a broken guy.”

Video shows the plane performing maneuvers in the air:

UPDATE: Airline mechanic stole an Alaska Airlines plane without any passengers and took off from Sea-Tac International Airport in Washington state before crashing near Ketron Island, officials said: https://t.co/gzqIUY7M4g pic.twitter.com/RWgaArMN1i

— NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) August 11, 2018

My god. This is footage of the *stolen* commercial airliner doing a barrel roll before crashing with it’s lone passenger. You can see the fighter jet following it from behind, seemingly ready to shoot it down. Such a crazy story #seatac

Video from John Waldron on Facebook pic.twitter.com/yWUobaboCS

— John H. Meyer (@BEASTMODE) August 11, 2018

And here’s a radar view of the reported crash site, via Flightradar:

Aircraft circling #Q400 crash site on Ketron Island (bottom center), shown in relation to Sea-Tac Airport (top right). https://t.co/KP0FxohCkh pic.twitter.com/VxvfXTHkTO

— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) August 11, 2018

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'Suicidal' airline mechanic steals plane at Seattle-Tacoma Airport and crashes near Puget Sound