An airline employee stole a Q400 Turboprop plane from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Friday night. The 29-year-old employee was a ground service agent at Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaska Airlines. According to the New York Times, the handler was thought to be suicidal. The plane crashed some 30 miles away with fighter jets chasing its flight, and killed the rogue pilot.
The flight was “a joy ride gone terribly wrong,” Sheriff Pastor . Onlookers from the ground recorded the plane looping and diving before it crashed. Air traffic controllers had tried to help the pilot land safely — while the plane swerved on its flight, the rogue pilot chatted with officials. According to , When a controller suggested getting a pilot on the radio to help the man control the aircraft, he responded: “Nah, I mean, I don’t need that much help. I’ve played some video games before,” the man responds.“Congratulations,” an air traffic controller says, “you did that, now let’s try to land that airplane safely and not hurt anybody on the ground.”
He talked about the beauty of the sights going by “so fast.” And wondered about how to do a backflip with the plane. “I got a lot of people that care about me and it’s gonna disappoint them to hear that I did this,” the man said. “I would like to apologize to each and every one of them. Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose I guess. Never really knew it until now.”
Although the man would have needed TSA clearance to get into the aircraft, inside the flight deck, there would have been no security measures like “an ignition switch with a key,” to prevent him from taking off, The Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s College of Aviation dean Alan J. Stolzer told the Times.