Plane stolen by airline employee crashes near Seattle

Plane stolen by airline employee crashes near Seattle

Plane stolen by airline employee crashes near Seattle

A Horizon Air passenger plane has crashed on Ketron Island south of Seattle after being stolen by an airline employee at SeaTac Airport around 8 pm on Friday.

Potential solutions could include additional vetting or monitoring of employees; changes in who can access the planes and when; having parked aircraft monitored by closed-circuit television or by security patrols; requiring electronic or digital passcodes to start a plane's engines; or requiring locks that could prevent an unauthorized person from manipulating a plane's throttle, experts said. Horizon Air is part of Alaska Air Group and flies shorter routes throughout the U.S. West.

"I'm just a broken guy", Russell told air traffic controllers while he piloted the plane.

"All security protocols were taken care of", she said, describing the heist as a one-in-a-million aberration.

He used a vehicle known as a pushback tractor to move the empty turboprop plane and took off without authorization at 7:32 p.m. Friday, officials said.

The sheriff's office also said the F-15s arrived minutes after the plane was stolen and kept the aircraft "out of harm's way and people on the ground safe".

"To get someone excited I think they're great because that's what we need", Bond said.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee also thanked the Air National Guard from Washington and OR for scrambling jets.

The air traffic control staffer called him Rich, but authorities haven't named the man.

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He said he didn't want to disappoint them but that he was "just a broken guy, got a dew screws loose, I guess".

He told them, "Those guys will rough me up if I try and land there".

Russell's family said the incident came as a "complete shock to us".

Flight instructors say the plane, the Q400, is a very complex and sophisticated plane.

Horizon Air CEO Gary Beck also said the man who stole the plane did not have a pilot's license and did not know how to fly a commercial airline. The Q400 ix a turboprop aircraft with 76 seats.

The suspect who stole the flight was identified as a 29-year-old man, Richard who was feeling depressed and doing things out of control.

Airport employees undergo background checks that involve sorting through 10 years' worth of criminal records, and rechecking the records every two years, she said.

"We're working to find out everything we possibly can about what happened", he said. Alaska Airlines said they are not ready to share those details but they are providing that information to the FBI and federal regulators.

Video from a witness on the ground shows the plane at one point pulling up for a loop, putting the aircraft upside-down and then pulling back up just feet above a body of water.

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