Stolen Alaska Airlines plane crashes after unauthorized takeoff from Seattle-Tacoma airport

12 August, 2018, 18:46 | Author: Regina Silva
  • Alaska Airlines planes are seen at Seattle Tacoma International Airport in SeaTac Wash. Oct. 30 2013

On Friday, an airline mechanic stole an empty Horizon Air turboprop plane, took off from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and was chased by military jets before crashing onto Ketron, a small island in the Puget Sound, on Friday night, officials said. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office said the man, who has been identified as Richard Russell, was 29 years old and "suicidal".

"We are devastated by these events and Jesus is truly the only one holding this family together right now". Horizon is owned by Alaska Air Group, Inc., which also owns Alaska Airlines. Those employees direct aircraft for takeoff and gate approach and de-ice planes, as well as handle baggage.

They said of Richard: "He was a faithful husband, loving son and a good friend".

Later the man said: "I've got a lot of people that care about me". Kaelin remembered "happy, funny" chats with him in the break room.

"He was a nice guy", Kaelin said.

People like DeAndre Halbert will remember Russell as a former friend and co-worker eager to help him cover shifts and lend a listening ear.

F-15s did not bring the plane down.

.

Video showed the Horizon Air Q400, a turboprop plane that seats 76 people, doing large loops and other unsafe maneuvers as the sun set on Puget Sound.

Officials had earlier said the man had been an employee of Horizon Air for three and a half years and had clearance to be among aircraft.

After Russell talked periodically with air traffic controllers for about an hour, the plane crashed on Ketron Island, officials said.

Witness reports and videos posted on social media showed the plane making a loop, then flying low over a body of water, trailed by at least one fighter jet.

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A "suicidal" airline employee at Seattle's Sea-Tac International Airport stole an empty plane Friday night for a freakish joyride, performing unsafe air maneuvers under close pursuit by F-15 fighter jets before crashing into an island.

"At this time, the family is moving forward with processing our grief", said Mathews.

Alaska Airlines officials said at a Saturday news conference that the plane's operator and sole occupant was killed in the crash.

While the crash only killed Russell, the brazen stealing of a commercial airline from a major USA airport has exposed a gap in airline security. An investigation will also seek to determine how a ground service worker was able to access the plane's cockpit and steal it in the first place.

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

Late yesterday's full stop at Seattle's Sea-Tac airport turned out to have a freakish and ultimately tragic reason. "This is a really big deal".

A Horizon Air Q400 was stolen from Sea-Tac International Airport in the US.

Rich's job as an airport grounds service agent provided him and Hannah with the opportunity to travel the globe, enjoying adventures everywhere from Alaska to Mexico to France.

"Credentialed employees are there to work on the airplanes". This is aviation in America.

Tilden said airplanes of that type do not have doors that lock or ignition keys like cars. There is not an ignition key like a vehicle. A Cessna 150 is a two-seat civilian aircraft.

He said the pilot then "pulled pretty much straight up and kind of at an angle", adding he "somehow he got it levelled back off and then made his way down toward the island".

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