'Suicidal' man steals and crashes empty plane from Seattle airport

The plane stolen from a Seattle airport Friday was spotted doing maneuvers before it crashed

In the chilling recording, he revealed he was a "broken man" and apologised to the air traffic controller.

Authorities said he'd been an employee of Horizon since 2015 and "was fully credentialed and had access to" the cargo area where the Q400 was kept.

There was no connection to terrorism and no others were involved, said Troyer.

"We believe that it was taken by a single Horizon Air employee, and that no other passengers or crew were on board".

The hijacker has been described as a 29-year-old mechanic who worked for an "unknown airline". "We are working back ground on him now", the sheriff's department tweeted shortly before 10 p.m. "The doors of the airplanes are not keyed".

Those employees direct aircraft for take-off and gate approach and de-ice planes. "Everyone was very calm", he said.

"As far as taking off and navigating your way through SeaTac that's a big airport". The incident led to around 75 delayed flights, nine diverted flights and five canceled flights. None of the flights was delayed on the tarmac for more than three hours, Ehl said.

Two f-15 fighter jets were scrambled from Portland to intercept the stolen aircraft. NORAD said that the jets were armed, but that they did not fire upon the plane.

At another point he jokingly says he won't be able to get a job after the incident because "I'm a white guy".

"I would like to apologize to each and every one of them", the man added.

Only the unidentified pilot was on the plane, according to authorities.

"Nah, I mean, I don't need that much help".

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While in the air, Russell joked for almost 20 minutes with the air traffic control agent, but admitted he had "a few screws loose" and called himself "just a broken guy".

An airline mechanic who stole a Horizon Air plane from a Seattle airport told air traffic controllers that he was a "broken guy" but also joked about whether the airline would hire him as a pilot if he landed safely. We have police boats, we have everybody responding.

Witnesses reported seeing the plane being chased by military aircraft before it crashed on Ketron Island, southwest of Tacoma, Washington. "Normal operations at Sea-Tac Airport have resumed", the airport wrote.

Debra Eckrote, a regional chief with the National Transportation Safety Board, says the wings are off the plane and the fuselage is upside down. The Department of Natural Resources said two acres burned.

No injuries were reported on the ground. The FBI's Seattle office took charge of the criminal investigation, while the NTSB is assisting in cooperation with local and state partners.

No one else was believed to be on the plane, authorities said.

Ferry traffic to and from Ketron Island was limited to investigators and emergency responders this morning.

On Facebook, Rich, who again used the name Beebo Russell, wrote that he lives in Sumner, Washington, was from Wasilla, Alaska, and was married to Hannah Russell, who works as an assistant pastry chef and waitress, according to her social media account.

"An insider threat is one of the more hard threats to overcome", Curtis told GeekWire.

Mr Russell, 29, who authorities say was suicidal and did not have a pilot's licence, died after the plane plummeted into a small island yesterday.

In another exchange, one controller tried to guide him towards a nearby runway at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, but he refused to steer towards the USAF airfield, replying: "Oh man, those people will rough me up if I try to land there".

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