Sea-Tac Airport Issues Statement After 'Suicidal Male' Crashes Plane

Alaska Airlines has confirmed an'unauthorised take-off in Seattle

According to the Pierce County Sheriff's office, the suspected hijacker is a 29-year-old airline mechanic, who allegedly performed aerial stunts with the plane.

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.

No injuries were reported on the ground, Pastor said, as the plane crashed and started an intense fire on the wooded, 230-acre island, which has a population of 20.

All departures and arrivals were halted at the busy airport for some time but have since resumed.

"It was unfathomable, it was something out of a movie", a resident who saw the crash told The Seattle Times.

Investigators were working to find out how an airline employee stole the plane Friday and crashed it after being chased by military jets that were quickly scrambled to intercept the aircraft.

Alaska Air Group CEO Brad Tilden also issued a statement.

The Bombardier Q400 turboprop is designed for short-distance flights and can seat 76 passengers, Alaska Air said.

We caught up with pilot and aviation mechanic Alex Furois. "I hope this doesn't ruin your day", he said to the controller, adding that he was grateful to be kept away from other aircraft.

"NORAD fighters did not fire upon the aircraft", North American Aerospace Defense Command said Saturday morning in a news release. The jets flew close enough to make visual contact, he said.

Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the sheriff's department, said on Twitter the man was suicidal and there was no connection to terrorism.

"I've got a lot of people that care about me, and it's going to disappoint them to hear that I did this", the man says.

Russell detailed his experience flying from video games and asked for the coordinates to the killer whale shepherding her dead calf through Washington coastal waters for almost three weeks.

In one snippet, he even seems to consider landing at the runway he is being directed to, before saying "This is probably jail time for life, huh?" "The wings are off, the fuselage is, I think, kind of positioned upside down".

"I wouldn't want to do that".

"The tow team has access to talk to air traffic control".

As Russell nosedived toward the water, "We were all screaming, 'Oh my god, oh my god!' and I was yelling, 'Pull up, pull up!'" he said.

Authorities say the man went through various background checks to get clearance to be in the secured area. "At this time the family is moving forward with the hard task of processing our grief", the statement said.

He appeared to have acted alone and was suicidal, according to the local sheriff's department.

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. "They're not as easy to fly as, say, a Cessna 150, so I don't know how he achieved the experience that he did", Beck said.

One witness filmed the plane doing a large loop-the-loop, which they first thought was part of an air show rehearsal.

In the chilling recording, he revealed he was a "broken man" and apologised to the air traffic controller. "Never really knew it, until now", Richard Russell said at one point.

Only minutes after the plane made its weird, unauthorized takeoff around 8 p.m., the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) scrambled two F-15s out of Portland to intercept it. "I played video games before so, you know, I know what I'm doing a little bit".

The controller responds: "OK, Rich".

The incident prompted authorities to temporarily ground flights at SeaTac.

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