Federal Bureau of Investigation seeks motive after U.S. airline worker stole plane and crashed it

Employee takes off in empty airplane from Seattle's airport crashes

The pilot appeared to have acted alone and was likely killed in the crash

In a video posted to Alaska Airlines' verified YouTube page late Friday night, Horizon Air's Chief Operating Officer, Constance von Muehlen, said the plane was taken by a Horizon Air employee, and no other passenger or crew were onboard.

A MECHANIC stole a plane from Seattle airport and joked with air traffic controllers before crashing into an island.

The sheriff's department said they were working to conduct a background investigation on the man, whose name was not immediately released.

All flights were grounded at Seattle-Tacoma worldwide airport in the United States when a passenger plane took off without permission.

Although it's not yet known how Richard, who worked with airport baggage and was not a pilot, was able to get in the plane and fly it away from the airport without being caught, F-15 fighter jets were called to track him as soon as airline employees realized what was going on.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) thanked the Air National Guard for scrambling jets to confront the hijacked aircraft Friday night, and lamented that "there are still a lot of unknowns surrounding tonight's tragic incident".

Mr Tilden said planes do not have door or ignition keys, and that other airport security measures keep them safe.

Alaska Airlines said that a Horizon Air Q400 was involved in the incident.

"There were some maneuvers that were done that were incredible maneuvers with the aircraft", Gary Beck, CEO of Horizon Air, said of the flight that ended with a crash onto a small island.

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Horizon Air is part of Alaska Air Group and flies shorter routes throughout the US West. "Well I would hope it would be for a guy like me". Jimmy Thomson, deputy editor of Canadian investigative news outlet The Narwhal, has compiled and transcribed portions of the air-traffic recording of the incident, and they provide a haunting glimpse into the moments before the plane crash.

Witnesses described the surreal scene after the plane left the airport.

A witness on the ground, Bryan Sichley, said he was at Chambers Bay in University Place and saw a plane nose dive after being chased by two fighter jets.

"Nah, I mean, I don't need that much help".

He said he'd "like to apologize to each and every one of them". At one point he seems to be threatening harm, telling an air traffic controller that "people's lives are at stake here".

Alaska Airlines and other planes sit on the tarmac at Sea-Tac International Airport Friday evening, August 10, 2018, in SeaTac, Wash. "Never really knew it, until now", Rich Russell said. "I don't wanna, I don't know".

"Oh man. Those guys will rough me up if I try and land there", the man responded, later adding, "This is probably jail time for life, huh?" NORAD said that the jets were armed, but that they did not fire upon the plane. "A pilot on the plane in front of us just went rogue and took off on an empty plane bypassing orders from the tower".

"It is highly fragmented", she said of the plane. "To our knowledge, he didn't have a pilot's license".

Mr Russell, a ground service employee with Horizon Air, has not been officially named by authorities but his family have revealed his identity.

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