'Stolen' plane closes Seattle airport before crashing into sea

Air Alaska planes sit on the tarmac at the terminal following an incident where an airline employee took off in an airplane at Seattle Tacoma International Airport in Seattle Washington US

No one was injured on the ground, authorities said.

The FBI is leading the probe, which also includes the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

A plane at Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle, Washington reportedly crashed on Friday night after an "unauthorized takeoff".

The plane had crashed near the southern tip of the island, its wings sheared off and the fuselage resting upside down. He is believed to have died when the plane crashed after a 90-minute "joy ride".

Howell said he hopes people remember the Russell he knew - a "funny, great kid" who always had a smile and a joke. Southers is director of homegrown violent extremism studies at the University of Southern California.

The man, who was called Rich by air traffic control personnel, is an Alaska Air Horizon employee who allegedly stole a Horizon Air Q400, shutting down the airport temporarily. Video has surfaced appearing to show the hijacker successfully executing the maneuver, some time before his fatal crash. He was chased by military jets before crashing into an island in the Puget Sound.

When asked to land he says: "I don't know, man".

Ketron Island has few residents.

President Donald Trump was briefed on the incident and is monitoring the situation, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Saturday morning. He is now at his New Jersey golf club. His identity and condition are unknown.

Ruling out a terror link, Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor noted that "most terrorists don't do loops over the water".

The stolen plane was parked in an area called Cargo 1 on the north part of Sea-Tac when it was taken. He also says it's extremely lucky no one else was hurt. When controllers tried to coax him into attempting a landing, he told them "I'm not quite ready to bring it down just yet".

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"Congratulations, you did it", the control tower tells him, according to an audio feed aired on CNN.

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

Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden said the man had been "background checked".

Later, he said he's "got a lot of people that care about me". During the flight, he could be heard telling controllers that he was "just a broken guy" with "a few screws loose". "Pilots kept plane out of harm's way and people on ground safe", the sheriff said on Twitter.

The 29-year-old amateur pilot was presumed dead after the Bombardier Q400, stolen from Horizon Airlines, slammed into Ketron Island, about 30 miles south of the airport, setting off a large forest fire.

In this long-exposure photo, smoke and an orange glow are seen on Ketron Island in Washington state, early Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018 as viewed from near Steilacoom, Wash. There were no passengers aboard. Two military F-15s were scrambled to pursue the plane, but were not involved in the crash.

They may have cost him his life, but an airline employee's acrobatics in an empty propeller plane he stole in Seattle drew words of wonder from the head of the company where he'd worked.

Apparently unfamiliar with numerous controls of the plane he was flying, Russell was aware of at least one indicator. Petty Officer Ali Flockerzi said a 45-foot vessel was headed to the scene.

Video showed the Horizon Air Q400, a turboprop plane that seats 76 people, doing large loops and other risky maneuvers as the sun set on Puget Sound.

No other information was immediately available.

"Last night's event is going to push us to learn what we can from this tragedy so that we can ensure this does not happen again at Alaska Air Group or at any other airline".

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