SEATTLE, Washington, Aug. 10, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — Federal authorities are tracking a developing story out the Seattle area where an Alaska Air turbo-prop passenger plane crashed in South Puget Sound after being stolen from Sea-Tac Airport by a man tentatively identified as a “rogue” airline employee.
According to a tweet by Alaska Airlines, the Alaska Air Q400 model aircraft — a regional commuter plane capable of holding up to 76 passengers — was hijacked during an “unauthorized take-off” about 7:40 p.m. Friday.
“We believe there are no passengers on board,” the tweet also said.
Local news stations in Seattle were inundated with phone calls from witnesses who saw the plane flying low over heavily populated areas with F-15 fighter jets giving chase.
About an hour after taking off, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office reported the plane had crashed on Ketron Island, sending a plume of smoke hundreds of feet in the air.
Conversations between air traffic controllers and the rogue pilot, which were monitored by Gephardt Daily, reveal the rogue pilot asked if he needed help landing the plane. He told flight controllers that he had only planned to put the aircraft through some maneuvers to see what it could do and had no plan for actually landing the aircraft.
Gephardt Daily is continuing to monitor the situation and will update the story as more information becomes available.
Some dude stole a plane from #Seatac (Allegedly), did a loop-the-loop, ALMOST crashed into #ChambersBay, then crossed in front of our party, chased by fighter jets and subsequently crashed. Weird times. pic.twitter.com/Ra4LcIhwfU
— bmbdgty (@drbmbdgty) August 11, 2018