FBI seeks motive after US airline worker stole plane and crashed it


"It's going to disappoint them to hear that I did this", Rich said.

Authorities don't know why he took the plane, but he could be heard on audio recordings telling air traffic controllers that he is "just a broken guy".

Two F-15C aircraft were scrambled from Portland and pursued the plane but authorities say they didn't fire on it before it crashed on tiny Ketron Island, southwest of Tacoma, Washington.

A "suicidal" airline employee at Seattle's Sea-Tac International Airport stole an empty plane Friday night for a weird joyride, performing unsafe air maneuvers under close pursuit by F-15 fighter jets before crashing into an island.

Pierce County Sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer told the Bellingham Herald that information was preliminary regarding the developing incident.

Currently, the FBI has taken over the investigation of the incident and Alaska Air has stated that they are working with authorities and their own safety teams to "thoroughly understand the incident".

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PCSD officials also said this is not a terrorist incident.

In a statement, the airport said: "An airline employee conducted an unauthorized takeoff without passengers at Sea-Tac; aircraft has crashed in south Puget Sound".

A Horizon Air Bombardier Dash 8 Q400, reported to be hijacked, flies over University Place, Washington, the USA, before crashing in the South Puget Sound, August 10, 2018 in this still image taken from a video obtained from social media. On Friday around 7:32 p.m., he got in the cockpit of an empty 76-seat Horizon Air turboprop plane and took off without authorization.

Kaelin said Russell "was always great to work with - we got our flights out on time, if not early, most of the time". The plane was "highly fragmented and the wings are off", she said. At one point, Russell told a controller he had played a lot of video games.

"I really think they could have handled it better". They described the man as "suicidal".

His family members said in a statement they were stunned and heartbroken.

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Fortunately, the only death in the crash was the unnamed joyrider, who still has not yet been named, although air-traffic controllers call him "Rich" during their exchanges. "Pilots kept the plane out of harm's way and people on ground safe", the sheriff said on Twitter.

The man didn't have a pilot's license, and authorities say it's unclear how he attained the skills to do loops in the aircraft before crashing about an hour after taking off into a small island in the Puget Sound.

"No security violations were committed", said Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden.

According to the mercurynews.com, witnesses reported seeing the Bombardier Q400, a turboprop aircraft, perform a loop-the-loop and almost slam into Chambers Bay, all while being pursued by fighter jets. "I was kind of hoping that was going to be it, you know".

"I've got a lot of people that care about me".

Airline and airport officials would not say during a briefing to reporters Saturday exactly when airport staff determined the plane was in the process of being stolen. Near the end of the video, you can also see the aftermath of the crash.

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