FBI Investigating How Man with 'Screws Loose' Stole, Crashed Plane
12 August, 2018, 12:57 | Author: Eric Barnett
The man, who was a ground agent at Sea-Tac Airport and not a pilot, eventually crashed on Ketron Island and died.
He crashed the plane in a wooded area of Ketron Island, 25 miles south of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said the man "did something foolish and may well have paid with his life", according to the AP.
A "suicidal" mechanic stole an empty passenger plane from the Seattle-Tacoma airport late Friday, took it for a brief flight that included an aerial loop, then crashed it, in an incident officials said was unrelated to terrorism.
Horizon Air employee Richard Russelltold an air traffic controller he was "just a broken man" minutes before dying late Friday in the Bombardier Q400 twin-engine turboprop plane, appearing to apologize for his actions.
Officials said the man had been a Horizon employee for three-and-a-half years and had clearance to be among aircraft, but to their knowledge, he was not a licensed pilot.
In a video posted to Alaska Airlines' verified YouTube page late Friday night, Horizon Air's Chief Operating Officer, Constance von Muehlen, said the plane was taken by a Horizon Air employee, and no other passenger or crew were onboard.
A full investigation is being carried out by officials.
"Oh man", Rich immediately responded, "Those guys will rough me up if I try and land there".
"The tow team has access to talk to air traffic control".
"I watched probably 18 planes land and line up across from us because they were getting everyone on the ground and out of the air patterns", said Leddy.
Video showed the Horizon Air Q400 doing large loops and other risky manoeuvres as the sun set on Puget Sound.
Tilden said the system in place is to credential and secure employees and air fields, but not planes.
In partial recordings of his conversations with air traffic controllers that were published online by Broadcastify.com, the man said he was sorry to disappoint people who cared about him and described himself as a "broken guy".
Mr Southers said the man could have caused mass destruction.
The United States has approximately 900,000 aviation workers, according to the most recent federal data, and the screening procedures they are subjected to are "pretty rudimentary", said Mary Schiavo, the former inspector general of the U.S. Department of Transportation. He mentioned "having a few screws loose" and demonstrated signs of suicidal ideation.
As of now, no other people have been reported hurt, and the airport has resumed normal operations.
"In this plane, he certainly knew how to retract the landing gear; he coordinated both engines, powered them up to get a coordinated takeoff", she said.
A ground service agent's tasks don't involve touching planes' controls, CNN aviation analyst Mary Schiavo said. The crash sparked a 2-acre wildfire. I think I might mess something up there too. He said he didn't see the crash but saw smoke.
On Saturday morning, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told media that President Donald Trump was briefed on the incident and is now "monitoring the situation" in Seattle.
"It was unfathomable, it was something out of a movie", King told the Times.
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