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Seattle Airport Employee Steals Airplane, Crashes It Into the Ground

An anonymous reader quotes the Los Angeles Times:
An airline worker stole an empty Alaska Airlines plane from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington on Friday night, and the National Guard scrambled two fighter jets to chase the aircraft, which crashed on a sparsely populated island in Puget Sound, officials said. No passengers were aboard the 76-seat Horizon Air Q400 turboprop plane, which was stolen by a 29-year-old Horizon Air ground service agent from Pierce County, according to airline and law enforcement officials…. The man was described as suicidal, and it appeared impossible that he could have survived the crash….

The plane made an unauthorized takeoff from the airport around 8 p.m. and crashed on Ketron Island, about five miles southwest of Tacoma, after the renegade pilot bantered erratically with air-traffic controllers who pleaded with him to land the plane, according to officials and dispatch audio. “This is probably jail time for life, huh?” said the man, identified on the radio as Rich, according to dispatch audio reviewed by the Seattle Times…. At another point, the employee said: “I’m gonna land it, in a safe kind of manner. I think I’m gonna try to do a barrel roll, and if that goes good, I’m just gonna nose down and call it a night….”
“Oh, my God! Oh, my God! He’s OK? He’s OK,” one woman said in a video posted on Facebook, which showed at least one military jet in pursuit. Itâ(TM)s not clear how long afterward the plane crashed.

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