‘Suicidal’ airline employee steals, crashes plane
Airline employee stole a commercial aircraft and crashed into a Seattle island; Dan Springer reports.
The unidentified “suicidal” airport worker who stole an empty plane for the take off of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) on Friday, he had a dramatic conversation with the air traffic controllers when the incident unfolded.
The unknown pilot was addressed as “Rich” and “Richard” of air traffic controllers, live air traffic control feed showed, as obtained by the Seattle Times. “Rich”, sounded cheerful and excited to be in the conversation while the air traffic controllers sounded calm. In one of the fragments of the conversation, “Rich” was to hear talk about fuel and how he wanted to “go to the Olympic games.”
The air traffic controllers were heard, ask the pilot if he knew that his height. “Rich,” he said, not knowing what that meant, but he said that he was on auto-pilot. The air traffic controllers told him in a different clip that they are trying to keep him safe, because other aircraft land at Sea-Tac.
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“Oh okay, yes, I don’t want to screw. I am glad you are not screwing up everyone’s day on the account of me,” the airport employee said.
“Richard,” said the air traffic controllers that he had 2,100 pounds of fuel and was surprised by how fast the “burn-out.”
This is probably the prison for life, eh? I hope it is for a guy like me
– ‘Rich’, the pilot
“Yes, I don’t know what the burn-out is a start, but yes, it is burned a lot faster than I had expected,” he said.
In another fragment, the controller and the “Rich” discussed where to land.
“There’s the runway, just off to the right in about a mile,” the controller said. “That is McChord.” [referring to the military airport to Joint Base Lewis-McChord].
Police: Mechanic steals Horizon Air passenger plane crashes
“Oh man!” “Richard,” she answered loudly. “These guys will rough me up if I try it and the country. I think I might mess something up there. I would not want to do that. Oh! They probably have an anti-aircraft!”
“No, they are not of that stuff. We are just looking for a place to get you safely to the ground,” the controller replied.
However, the “Rich” said he wasn’t ready to land just yet.
“I’m not quite ready to bring it down, but holy smokes, I got to stop looking at the fuel, because it goes down fast,” he said.
The controller then asks you “Rich” as he can to the left, but the pilot had other thoughts.
“This is probably the prison for life, eh?” “Rich,” he said. “I would hope that a guy like me.”
“Oh, Richard,” the controller said. “We’re not going to worry or think. But you can start to the left?”
In another clip, “Rich” asked the controllers if they thought he would get a job as a pilot if he landed with success.
“You know, I think they give you a task to do something if you can pull this off,” the controller replied.
The employee replied, “Yeah, right! [Inaudible] I’m a white man, [inaudible].”
At another time during the incident, “Rich” seemed to express regret and wanted to apologize to the people who cared about him.
“I have a lot of people who care about me,” “Richard,” he said. “It’s going to disappoint them to hear that I did this. I want to apologize to each and every one of them. Just a broken man, got a few screws loose, I think. Never really knew, until now.”
The aircraft was witnessed flying over homes on August 10, 2018.
(Courtney Junka via AP )
Before the crash, “Richard” was heard, said that he felt that one of the engines was “to go out or something.”
“OK, Rich,” the controller said. “If you can, you just want to bring that plane right above the water. Keep the plane nice and low.”
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The empty Horizon Air turboprop plane crashed on Ketron Island, southwest of Tacoma, Washington. The 29-year-old man, who was believed killed in the crash, had no connection with terrorism. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said that they were doing a background research on the Pierce County resident.
Some unconfirmed reports on social media said the suspect was believed to have been an airline mechanic. Alaska Airlines later said that he was an employee who helped direct the aircraft to the gates, and de-ice aircraft. Horizon is a subsidiary of Alaska Airlines.
The crash of the Q400 — described as a 76-seat aircraft designed for short trips — occurred because the pilot was “doing stunts in the air or a lack of flying skills,” the sheriff’s department said.
A message from Horizon Air’s Chief Operating Officer Constance von Muehlen: https://t.co/BDhk9pf1Yt
— Alaska Airlines (@AlaskaAir) On August 11, 2018
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Saturday morning that President Donald Trump is “monitoring the situation.” He is currently at his New Jersey golf club.
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson, Bradford Betz and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
Kathleen Joyce is a breaking/trending news producer for FoxNews.com. You can follow her via @Kathleen_Joyce8 on Twitter.