Federal authorities were searching on Saturday for what drove an airline worker to steal an empty airplane from Seattle's airport and crashing it into a nearby sparsely populated island, sparking a security scare that saw US fighter jets scrambled.
An airline mechanic stole an airplane at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Friday (Aug 10) and was chased by two United States military jets before crashing on a nearby sparsely populated island, the local sheriff said.
Minutes later, a Horizon Air Q400 crash-landed on Ketron Island after an "unauthorized take-off" from Sea-Tac Airport.
The sheriff's department said they were working to conduct a background investigation on the man, whose name was not immediately released. Confirmed information. this is a single suicide male.
In several tweets, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee thanked the fighter pilots who were "ready to do whatever was needed to protect us". "No others involved", the office of the Pierce County Sheriff said.
"We believe there are no passengers on board", the tweet said. There appear to have been no passengers on the 76-seat plane.
While the jets were in pursuit of the small plane, air traffic control helped the rogue plane stay clear of the Seattle cosmopolitan area, ABC reports.
"I hit some turbulence around Rainier but there were no clouds there", the pilot says.
"This is not a terrorist incident", the Sheriff's Department said, adding "We know who he is".
Other pilots can be heard on the recording as controllers deal with the havoc being created by the stolen plane. "We heard the jet because our windows were down while we were waiting in the ferry line to go to Anderson Island which is adjacent to Ketron Island".
"I don't want to", Rich says in an elated tone.
Fortunately, no passengers were believed to have been on board the Horizon Air Q400 when it was stolen from Seattle's Sea-Tac International Airport on Saturday afternoon (AEST).
"It was unfathomable, it was something out of a movie", King said. "We saw the jets circle back after and she texted that there was no plane". "I was kind of hoping that was going to be it, you know".