SEATTLE, Wash. – An airline mechanic stole an Alaska Airlines plane without any passengers and took off from Sea-Tac International Airport in Washington state on Friday evening before the crash, in the near Ketron Island, the officials said.
Preliminary information shows that the mechanic stole the Horizon Air Q400 and the crash, because the person was “doing stunts in the air or a lack of flying skills,” the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said on Twitter.
The plane was chased by military aircraft, witnesses said.
Sea-Tac officials said that the airline employee had “conducted an unauthorized flight without passengers.”
The U. S. Coast Guard was sending a 45-foot vessel to the scene of the accident after witnesses reported seeing a large plume of smoke in the air, Petty Officer Ali Flockerzi said.
Horizon Air is part of Alaska Air Group and flies shorter routes through the AMERICAN West. The Q400 ix a turboprop aircraft with 76 seats.
A spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration directed questions to the local authorities.
Balsamo reported from Los Angeles.