Monday, 20 August, 2018

Local aviation expert weighs in on Seattle plane theft and crash

An incident at the Seattle Tacoma International Airport led to a temporary grounding of all flights on Friday night BREAKING NEWS: Horizon Air Q400 Hijacked from Seattle
Russell Knight | 12 August, 2018, 08:14

Russell, 29, worked for Horizon Air for 3½ years. Acted alone he is 29-year-old Pierce county residence.

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". Witnesses report F-15s chasing plane then saw smoke, and loud boom.

Within minutes of the plane's takeoff, the military scrambled two armed F-15 jets from OR to follow it, according to local and airline authorities and two sources with knowledge of the situation.

"An airline employee conducted an unauthorized takeoff without permission at Sea-Tac; aircraft has crashed in south Puget Sound", the tweet read.

"Safety is our number one goal", Alaska Airlines chief executive Brad Tilden said. "We will provide more details when appropriate".

The airport says normal operations at Sea-Tac have resumed. He said 30 to 40 investigators were interviewing the pilot's co-workers and family members.

The incident fell under the ongoing mission of Noble Eagle, the air-defense mission launched after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hillier said.

The still unidentified man, who was a Horizon Air employee, is believed to have been the only person aboard the plane when it crashed. There were no passengers aboard. The employee was a "ground service agent", according to Alaska Airlines. Those employees direct aircraft for takeoff and gate approach and de-ice planes, as well as handle baggage.

The man later said that he was sorry.

The air-traffic control says they don't have those weapons.

"We're working to find out everything we possibly can about what happened", he said.

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"There were some maneuvers that were done that were incredible maneuvers with the aircraft", Gary Beck, CEO of Horizon Air, said of the flight that ended with a crash onto a small island. Video showed fiery flames amidst trees on the island, which is sparsely populated and only accessible by ferry. The Q400 is a turboprop aircraft with 76 seats.

In partial recordings of Russell's conversations with air traffic controllers that were published online by Broadcastify.com, he said he was sorry to disappoint people who cared about him and described himself as a "broken guy".

John Waldron, who took dramatic video of the stolen plane flying in a loop, told CNN that he was out for an evening stroll when he saw the two fighter jets following the turboprop airplane.

"Oh man", Russell says, "Those guys will rough me up if I try and land there".

At one point he seems to be threatening harm, telling an air traffic controller that "people's lives are at stake here". I would like to apologise to each and every one of them.

"Got a few screws loose, I guess", Russell is heard saying in the recording.

This incident raises all sorts of questions about airport security.

"Stolen horizon airplane crashed into Ketron island". The crash sparked a 2-acre wildfire.

Kethleen Reichel said she watched the planes pass by for about two minutes. I think I might mess something up there too. 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.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Saturday morning that President Donald Trump was "monitoring the situation".

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