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

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

The 29-year-old ground service agent - the only person aboard - died, the Pierce County Sheriff's Department said, without further identifying him.

Earlier in the evening, officials at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport said an Alaska Airlines plane had been stolen and later crashed. The employee was a "ground service agent", according to Alaska Airlines.

One user tweeted, "Some dude stole a plane from #Seatac (Allegedly), did a loop-the-loop, nearly crashed into #ChambersBay, then crossed in front of our party, chased by fighter jets and subsequently crashed".

"He had access legitimately" to the plane said Mike Ehl, director of aviation operations at the airport in the USA state of Washington, adding that "no security violations were committed".

During another part of the exchange, the man said he was concerned he was going to run low on fuel. Got a few screws loose.

"I got a lot of people that care about me", he said on the recording. It's going to disappoint them to hear that I did this.

He then said: "I wouldn't know how to land - I wasn't really planning on landing it".

The man was a resident of Pierce County, Wash., and "acted alone", the Pierce County Sheriff's Department tweeted. It did not elaborate.

Erroll Southers says Saturday that the unidentified man represents one of the greatest threats to aviation by being an insider cleared to have access to aircraft. "Well I hope it would be for a guy like me". "But could you start a left-hand turn, please?" The controller replies: "If you could, you just want to keep that plane right over the water".

"FAA air traffic controllers communicated with the individual who was flying the aircraft to try to help him land safely". "I don't know what the burnage is like on takeoff, but it burned quite a bit faster than I expected". Two f-15 fighter jets were scrambled from Portland to intercept the stolen aircraft.

The married mechanic - who has not been named - crashed on Ketron Island, 30 miles south west of Seattle, at 8pm local time. The jets' capability was appropriate to the potential task, one of the sources said, without offering details.

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Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said the man "did something foolish and may well have paid with his life".

A Coast Guard spokeswoman said the agency was responding to a report of a smoke plume and possible plane crash. Those pilots are trained for moments like tonight and showed they are ready and capable.

The incident has also raised questions about the physical security of the planes.

Waldron said it seemed that the jets were chasing down the airplane. After a ride full of unsafe loop-the-loops moves and weird conversation with the air traffic controllers, Richard wasn't able to land safely and crashed into a heavily wooded area on Ketron Island causing the jet became engulfed in flames.

"Everybody's stunned. that something like this would happen", said recently-retired Christenson. Initial information had said he was an airline mechanic. A KTVA reporter who visited the Russells' family home in Wasilla Saturday afternoon was told that Richard had graduated from Wasilla High School in 2009, but that the family had no immediate comment. He said the crash caused an intense fire and no injuries were reported on the ground.

Gary Howell, a Wasilla High track and field coach, said he remembered Russell as a amusing guy who also had a smile and a joke and was a great team player.

The co-ordinates for an orca carrying her dead calf on her back which featured in the news last week.

At one point, an air traffic controller asked if Russell felt comfortable flying.

"So, (he) had some knowledge but clearly wasn't a commercial pilot".

Alaska Airlines on Twitter said the airplane was a Q400 airplane belonging to Horizon Air.

"Safety is our number one goal", Alaska Airlines CEO Mr Tilden said.

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