A man reportedly made an "unauthorized takeoff" in a Bombardier Q400 turboprop from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Saturday, tweeted Alaska Airlines.
We've confirmed a Horizon Air Q400 that had an unauthorized takeoff from SeaTac around 8pm has gone down near Ketron Island in Pierce County, WA. We're working to confirm who was on board, we believe there were no guests or crew on board other than the person operating the plane.— Alaska Airlines (@AlaskaAir) 11 августа 2018 г.
F-15 fighter jets chased the rogue plane, which had no passengers on board. It crashed near Ketron Island in Puget Sound some 25 miles south-west of the airport.
Per JBLM source: After being contacted by F-15’s, stolen plane began to nose dive, crashing in north Pierce County. #KOMONews— Morgan Chesky (@BreakingChesky) 11 августа 2018 г.
Videos on social media showed the dramatic flight being trailed by what looks like a military aircraft.
The sheriff's office described the crash as "not a terrorist incident" and added, as quoted by The Seattle Times, that the hijacker was an unknown 29-year-old mechanic who crashed the plane either doing aerial tricks or because of poor flying skills. According to the airline, "a ground service agent employed by Horizon Air was the individual responsible for flying the Horizon Q400."
"Male is confirmed a suicidal male. Acted alone he is 29 year old Pierce county residence," the sheriff’s office tweeted.
More video of the stolen Q400 as it flew around the Seattle area. pic.twitter.com/Mzpuo4lvC2— Strategic Sentinel (@StratSentinel) 11 августа 2018 г.
The unauthorized pilot was reportedly speaking to an air traffic controller, who failed to convince him to land the aircraft safely. The man called himself "just a broken guy, [who] got a few screws loose."
The Air Q400 aircraft, also referred to as a Dash-8, is operated by Horizon Air, a sister carrier of Alaska Airlines that flies shorter routes in the western US.