'Suicidal' mechanic stole empty plane then crashed into island after F15 chase

Airliner takes off without authorization at Sea-Tac crashes in Puget Sound	 	 	 			A Horizon Q400 | Source Alaska Airlines

Fortunately, no passengers were believed to have been on board the Horizon Air Q400 when it was stolen from Seattle's Sea-Tac International Airport on Saturday afternoon (AEST).

President Donald Trump has been briefed on the man who stole a plane from Sea-Tac International Airport in Seattle before crashing it into a small, nearby island.

In a statement, Alaska Airlines said the twin-propeller passenger plane was being piloted by "an airline employee", who took the plane without permission.

Video footage on social media showed the plane flying above the Seattle area with an F15 fighter jet following it. Witnesses reported seeing the plane being chased by military aircraft before it crashed on Ketron Island, about 40 kilometres south-west of Tacoma, Washington.

"He was acting alone and he is 29-year-old Pierce county residence".

Around 8: 15 p.m., multiple viewers of our sister station in Seattle, KING 5, called to report a hijacked airplane, saying an apparent pilot or airport worker took off with an aircraft. He said the military planes were not involved in the crash. A large plume of smoke is visible to residents surrounding Steilacoom, Washington.

The airport said that normal operations at the airport were interrupted briefly but have since resumed.

The "suicidal" mechanic 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.

While authorities did not release the man's name, they say the man was suicidal, and officials said Friday night the man is likely dead.

The Pierce County Sheriff's Office said on Twitter that preliminary information suggested that a mechanic had stolen the aircraft.

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Jones is set to begin his second season on Danny Manning's Wake Forest staff after joining in the spring of 2017. His employers described him on Facebook as "super outgoing, friendly, and an incredibly smart businessman".

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 said he'd "like to apologize to each and every one of them".

The Bombardier Q400 is a turboprop airplane made for shorter flights, according to Alaska Airlines.

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

The US Coast Guard said the plane was stolen and was seen flying around Puget Sound at one point, NBC News reported.

"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".

Constance von Muehlen, the Horizon Air chief operating officer, said: "Our hearts are with the families of the individual aboard as well as all of our Alaska Air and Horizon Air employees".

Freakish audio from the cockpit reveals how air traffic control tried to talk him into landing the plane.

"My husband and I are recently former Boeing employees, and we were wondering why a jet was near the passenger airplane", she said. "Never really knew it until now".

The two F 15 chased the plane, however, did not shoot down the Q400.

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