Published: Sun, August 12, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Hijacked Plane Stolen From Seattle Airport Crashes On Nearby Island

Hijacked Plane Stolen From Seattle Airport Crashes On Nearby Island

John Waldron told CNN: "I started to capture video, just because I thought it was, kind of freaky".

The man responds: "Awwww-right ... dammit".

"I feel like one of my engines is going out or something", Russell says, according to audio posted by aviation journalist Jon Ostrower at the Air Current website. "I don't want to. I hope they can make it through this", he added.

Video taken by a bystander showed the 76-seat plane making a big, slow loop-the-loop as F-15 fighter jets gave chase, then flying low over Puget Sound before crashing into Ketron Island, a sparsely-populated area in the northwestern USA state of Washington.

The Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating the incident.

An empty Bombardier Q400 was stolen by a Horizon Air Mechanic between 8:30 PM and 8:45 PM from a cargo ramp stand in Seattle. The Department of Natural Resources said two acres burned.

The two F-15s were scrambled and in the air within minutes of the theft, flying at supersonic speeds from their Portland Air Force base to intercept the aircraft, said the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which oversees airspace protection in North America. The jets were not involved in the crash, it said. Unlike cars, there are no keys needed for the door or to turn on the plane, he said.

"As far as taking off and navigating your way through SeaTac that's a big airport".

The plane was pursued by military aircraft before it crashed on tiny Ketron Island, southwest of Tacoma, Washington.

"Hey all! My names Richard Russell, I'm 27 and now living in Sumner, WA with my incredible wife Hannah". Near the end of the video, you can also see the aftermath of the crash.

Thank you for signing up for the 3 Things to Know Newsletter. "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".

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It wasn't immediately clear what training, if any, the man had in flying planes.

During the conversation, Russell said he had put some fuel in the plane "to go check out the Olympics" - the Olympic Mountains that lie about 100 miles (160 kilometers) away. Though she was eventually able to safely return to her Anchorage home, Leddy said she's still in shock of the situation.

The plane was chased by military aircraft, witnesses said.

She added, "Yeah, he knew how to fly".

NBC reported that the man expressed distress about his mental health while communicating with the air traffic control tower.

Officials said yesterday that to their knowledge, he wasn't a licensed pilot.

The airline tells The Associated Press that the plane was a Horizon Air Q400 and it believed no passengers were on board.

Russell worked for Horizon Airlines, a sister carrier of Alaska Airlines, as a ground service agent who helped baggage handlers and was part of Horizon's tow team, which moved planes around on the tarmac.

Officials from Alaska Airlines said that it's still too early to speculate what exactly happened but that the flight was unauthorized.

Investigators on Saturday will try to retrieve the plane's flight data recorder and its cockpit voice recorder.

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