An unauthorized take off by a Seattle Tacoma International Airport employee ended up in a dramatic situation for the authorities on Friday night. The news was confirmed by the airport authorities via a tweet from their official account in the morning the next day.
The Alaska Airlines later mentioned in their blog that the individual in question may be a ground staff of the airport. The plane was in a position of maintenance when the unauthorized takeoff happened. It was not at all in a condition to be taken flight with passengers onboard.
The authorities confirmed that there was nobody else on the aircraft except the man in question when the plane took off.
Two fighter jets were put to the task to get the stolen plane back and to ensure the safety of the people on the ground. The stolen airplane that belonged to Alaska Airlines was of the model Horizon Bombardier Q400. Eyewitnesses claim that the plane was seen doing a barrel roll. The plane later crashed into the Ketron Island. The fighter jets were not responsible for the plane crash and whether or not the man on board survived has also not been confirmed.
The FBI announced that it may work with the local police force to investigate the incident but in the meanwhile said that the evidence got so far do not indicate that it was an act of terrorism.
While the authorities are gathering more information to find out whether there was a suicidal motive behind the whole incident, the Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said that it looks like a case of a “joyride gone wrong” and added that “terrorists don’t do loops over water”.
Brad Tilden, the Alaska Airlines’ CEO, said the company is still investigating as to what loops in the system led to the mechanic successfully stealing the plane and taking off with it. He also added, “ We are still gathering facts, but at this point, we understand there was only one person aboard, an employee of Horizon Air, who was operating the aircraft. We’re working to find out everything we possibly can about what happened, working with the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the National Transportation Safety Board. We are giving those investigators our full support and cooperation”
The services at the Seattle Tacoma International Airport were suspended for a brief time but were resumed very soon as soon as the situation was handled.