News

Airline employee who stole plane from SeaTac Airport was “allowed” to be in the neighbourhood of the craft, officials say, stating ‘no security breaches’

close


Video

Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air Ceo to speak after Seattle crash

News conference is held after the theft of the commercial aircraft caused a crisis in Seattle.

The airline employee who stole a plane for an “unauthorized flight” in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Friday before the crash, was able to “by right” access to the area where the craft was held, the officials said in a press conference on Saturday. She said that she thought that he was the only person on board.

“All of us at Alaska and Horizon are deeply saddened by last night’s unauthorized flight with the Horizon Q400 aircraft, which resulted in the loss of life for the individual involved,” said Brad Tilden, chief executive of Alaska Airlines. “All 23,000 of us want to express our sincere condolences to his family, his loved ones and his employees.”

At the press conference, officials with the FBI, Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air and the international airport (Seattle, wa) offered an update on how they think the events unfold.

The aircraft was witnessed flying over homes on August 10, 2018.

(Courtney Junka via AP)

While refraining from confirming the reports of the employee’s identity, the officials said, he was a ground service agent for Horizon Air, and was employed for more than three years. Horizon is a subsidiary of Alaska Airlines. He had to undergo numerous background checks and “fully qualified,” the officials said.

‘SUICIDAL’ AIRLINE EMPLOYEE WHO STOLE PLANE FROM SEATAC AIRPORT HAD A BIZARRE CONVERSATION WITH AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL BEFORE THE CRASH

“He had access to that area is legitimate,” said Mike Ehl, director of operations at SeaTac. “It is in the fence, and so no security violations were committed.”

Prior to the episode, which started around 7:30 a.m. local time, the Q400 aircraft was removed “from a maintenance position and was not scheduled for the flight, with passengers,” an official said. There is no indication that the employee had a pilot’s license, and officials are not sure how “he got the experience he did.”

The man seems to be the only person in the plane, an FBI official said, adding that this still is not “confirmed that at the crash site.”

The FBI is leading the investigation, the officials said.

PLANE CRASHES AFTER ‘UNAUTHORIZED’ TAKE-OFF’ FROM SEATAC AIRPORT, OFFICIALS SAY

“Safety is our Number 1 goal. There is nothing more important for us,” Tilden says. “Last night’s event is going to push us to learn what we can from this tragedy so that we can ensure this does not happen again in Alaska Air group or any other airline.”

The Horizon Air 76-seat turboprop plane crashed on Ketron Island, southwest of Tacoma, Wash. There was no connection with terrorism, authorities said.

An airline employee carried out an unauthorized flight without passengers to Sea-Tac; plane crashed in the south of Puget Sound. Normal operations at Sea-Tac Airport have resumed.

— Sea-Tac Airport (@SeaTacAirport) August 11, 2018

“An airline employee performed an unauthorized flight with no passengers on Sea-Tac; plane crashed in the south of Puget Sound. The normal activities in SeaTac Airport have resumed,” said an airport tweet.

Approximately 75 flights were delayed about the situation, nine were diverted to other airports and five were canceled; more than a dozen had more than two hours of delay, Ehl, said at the press conference.

The man who flew the plane was described as a 29-year-old “suicidal man” who “acted alone,” according to the Pierco County Sheriff’s Office.

Man is confirmed a suicidal man. Acting alone, he is 29 years old, Pierce county residence . We are working to return the land in him now.

— Pierce Co Sheriff (@PierceSheriff) August 11, 2018

Fox News’ Kathleen Joyce and Bradford Betz contributed to this report.

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.

Most popular