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Airline employee allegedly steals plane, takes off, then crashes

Posted at 11:33 PM, Aug 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-11 01:33:36-04

An airline mechanic who worked on the ground stole a plane at Seattle-Tacoma Airport (SeaTac), took off unauthorized and then later crashed, SeaTac airport said. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office confirmed a suicidal male, age 29, was on board, and it was not a terrorist incident.

The plane crashed on Ketorn Island in south Puget Sound outside Seattle. It’s a small island with about two dozen residents.  

According to the Pierce County Sheriff, preliminary information indicated a mechanic from unknown airlines stole the plane. The Pierce County Sheriff tweeted the person was "doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills caused crash into Island."

Two military F-15s chased the plane but was they were not involved in the crash, KIRO-TV reports

The plane belonged to Horizon Air, which is owned by Alaska Airlines. In a statement, Alaska Airlines said they are "aware of an incident involving an unauthorized take-off of a Horizon Air Q400." 

CBS Seattle affiliate KIRO-TV reporter Gary Horcher tweeted that all planes at SeaTac were grounded. KIRO-TV reported there was a ground stop at SeaTac until at least 11 p.m. PT.

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