Alaska Air employee 'steals plane' , crashes it in Seattle

SEATTLE: An airline mechanic stole an Alaska Airlines plane without any passengers and took off from Sea-Tac International Airport in Washington state on Friday night before crashing near Ketron Island, officials said.

Preliminary information suggests that the mechanic stole the Horizon Air Q400 and the crash occurred because the person was "doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills," the Pierce County Sheriff's Department said on Twitter.

"This is not a terrorist incident. Confirmed info .. this is a single suicide male. We know who he is. No others involved," the office of the Sheriff said.

The plane was chased by military aircraft, witnesses said.

Sea-Tac officials said the airline employee had "conducted an unauthorised takeoff without passengers."

The US Coast Guard was sending a 45-foot vessel to the crash scene after witnesses reported seeing a large plume of smoke in the air, Petty Officer Ali Flockerzi said.

Horizon Air is part of Alaska Air Group and flies shorter routes throughout the US West. The Q400 ix a turboprop aircraft with 76 seats.

A spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration directed inquiries to local authorities.

 

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