Horizon Air Q400 Hijacked from Seattle

Fredrick Soto
August 11, 2018

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport said the person flying the plane was an airline employee. He said the pilot told passengers there was an incident and they were stuck on the tarmac for about an hour.

Sheriff's officials say a man who stole an Alaska Airlines plane from an airport in Washington state was "suicidal" and there is no connection to terrorism.

"A joyride gone terribly wrong", Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said during a news conference in Steilacoom, which is about 3 miles from the island. As often happens in situations like these, some information reported early may turn out to be inaccurate.

Horizon Air chief operating officer Constance von Muehlen said the company believed the mechanic involved was a Horizon employee.

A user on Twitter captured video of the Horizon Q400 plane that made an unauthorized takeoff from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Friday as it was flying.

The airport said that normal operations at the airport were interrupted briefly but have since resumed.

Fighter pilots from the Air National Guard of Washington and OR flew alongside the plane, according to an emailed statement from Gov. Jay Inslee.

The Pierce County Sheriff wrote on Twitter, "Stolen horizon airplane crashed into Ketron island".

Passengers at Sea-Tac were held by a temporary ground stop while the stolen plane was in flight.

Air traffic controllers tried to talk the agent into landing but he refused.

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

Ketron Island has few residents.

Video from the scene shows the plane, which had no passengers on board, fly upside down while being tracked by fighter jets. We're trying to get accurate information about what is actually going on.

During another part of the exchange, the man said he said he didn't want to land at a nearby military base. He said he didn't see the crash but saw smoke.

In a statement, Alaska Airlines said the twin-propeller passenger plane was being piloted by "an airline employee", who took the plane without permission.

The plane was a Q400, a Bombardier turboprop plane, one of about 40 the airline has in its fleet.

It said that the F-15 pilots kept the "Q400 out of harm's way and people on the ground safe".

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