‘Suicidal’ mechanic feared dead after stealing plane near Seattle

SEATAC, Wash. — A “suicidal” airline mechanic stole an empty Horizon Airways airplane, took off from Sea-Tac Worldwide Airport and was chased by army jets earlier than crashing close to a small island within the Puget Sound on Friday evening, officers stated.

Preliminary info means that the 29-year-old mechanic stole the Horizon Air Q400 and the crash occurred as a result of he was “doing stunts in air or lack of flying expertise,” the Pierce County Sheriff’s Division stated.

Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Division, stated on Twitter the person was suicidal and there was no connection to terrorism.

Video confirmed the plane doing giant loops and different harmful maneuvers because the solar set.

Witnesses reported seeing the airplane being chased by army plane earlier than it crashed close to Ketron Island, southwest of Tacoma, Washington. There have been no passengers aboard. Troyer stated F-15 plane have been within the air “inside a couple of minutes” and the pilots saved “folks on the bottom protected.”

Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor stated the person “did one thing silly and should effectively have paid along with his life.”

The person’s situation after the crash wasn’t instantly identified.

The person could possibly be heard on audio recordings telling air site visitors controllers that he’s “only a damaged man.”

An air site visitors controller known as the person “Wealthy,” and tried to persuade the person to land the airplane.

“There’s a runway simply off to your proper aspect in a few mile,” the controller says, referring to an airfield at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

“Oh man. These guys will tough me up if I attempt to land there,” the person responded, later including “That is most likely jail time for all times, huh?”

Later the person stated: “I’ve bought lots of people that care about me. It’s going to disappoint them to listen to that I did this…Only a damaged man, bought a number of screws unfastened, I assume.”

Flights out of Sea-Tac, the biggest business airport within the Pacific Northwest, have been briefly grounded throughout the drama.

The U.S. Coast Guard despatched a 45-foot vessel to the crash scene after witnesses reported seeing a big plume of smoke within the air, Petty Officer Ali Flockerzi stated.

Royal King informed The Seattle Instances he was photographing a marriage when he noticed the low-flying turboprop being chased by to F-15s. He stated he didn’t see the crash however noticed smoke.

“It was unfathomable, it was one thing out of a film,” he informed the newspaper. “The smoke lingered. You may nonetheless hear the F-15s, which have been flying low.”

Horizon Air is a part of Alaska Air Group and flies shorter routes all through the U.S. West. The Q400 ix a turboprop plane with 76 seats.

“Our hearts are with the household of the person aboard, together with all of our Alaska Air and Horizon Air staff,” Horizon Air Chief Working Officer Constance von Muehlen stated in a video posted on Twitter.

Spokesmen for the Transportation Safety Administration, the U.S. Division of Homeland Safety and the Federal Aviation Administration directed inquiries to native authorities.

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