'Suicidal' Man Steals, Crashes Empty Plane From Seattle Airport

A Horizon Q400

A Horizon Q400 Credit Alaska Air

Trump is now at his New Jersey golf club, and Sanders commended the response effort for its "swift action" and public safety protection. She commended the response effort for its "swift action" and public safety protection. The man's condition after the crash wasn't immediately known.

"The wings are off, the fuselage is, I think, kind of positioned upside down", Debra Eckrote, the Western Pacific regional chief for the National Transportation Safety Board, said.

Officials at the Sea-Tac Airport say an airline employee conducted an unauthorized takeoff in Washington state and has crashed. The plane was believed to be empty except for Russell.

Audio captured between the man - who was identified as "Rich" - and air traffic controllers show him asking for help to get the cabin pressurised so he would stop feeling so lightheaded.

During another part of the exchange, the man said he was concerned he was going to run low on fuel.

"I would hope it is for a guy like me", he said. He joked with them, gushed about Washington's Olympic Mountains that he could see from the air, and dropped hints that he had no intention of landing - or surviving - in a poignant exchange that could be heard live on the internet. "The responding fighter pilots flew alongside the aircraft and were ready to do whatever was needed to protect us", Washington State governor Jay Inslee tweeted on Friday, "but in the end the man flying the stolen plane crashed".

"This is a complete shock to us", the family of 29-year-old Richard Russell said in a statement they released last night after he stole a passenger plane on Friday from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and was killed when he crashed on Ketron Island, some 40kms away. There were no passengers aboard.

Two military F-15s chased the plane "within a few minutes of theft of plane" and "kept plane out of harms way and people on ground safe", the sheriff's department said.

Russell's role at Horizon, an Alaska Airlines affiliate where he had worked since 2015, involved towing aircraft, loading and unloading cargo and luggage, and cleaning the aircraft, officials said.

The aircraft "crashed in south Puget Sound", Sea-Tac Airport said, adding that normal operations at the transport hub had resumed after a pause.

The U.S. Coast Guard was sending a 45-foot vessel to the crash scene after witnesses reported seeing a large plume of smoke in the air, Petty Officer Ali Flockerzi said.

SeaTac Airport was temporarily grounded amid a security threat.

The Horizon Air Q400 plane of Alaska Airlines was taken by an employee from the airport which resulted in interruption of air traffic at the airport.

An empty Bombardier Q400 was stolen by a Horizon Air Mechanic between 8:30 PM and 8:45 PM from a cargo ramp stand in Seattle.

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