A Seattle airline mechanic stole an unoccupied commercial plane on Friday night and took it on a long joyride before crashing it on a small island. After hijacking the Alaska Airlines plane at the Seattle-Tacoma Airport, the man died in the fiery crash. There were no other passengers.
The 76-seat Horizon Air turboprop plane took off without authorization around 8 p.m. local time, airport officials tweeted. The man did “stunts in (the) air” for about an hour, while military jets gave chase.
At one point, he asked air traffic controllers, “Hey do you think if I land this successfully Alaska will give me a job as a pilot?”
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A traffic controller, trying to humor him, replied, “You know, I think they would give you a job doing anything if you could pull this off.” But the plane jacker responded, “Yeah right! Nah, I’m a white guy.”
He also told traffic controllers he was “just a broken guy” before telling them he was preparing for “jail time for life.” But the plane crashed in a wooded area at Ketron Island, killing him.
The man was a ground service agent, a job that includes directing aircraft for takeoff and gate approach, and de-icing planes, authorities said.
It’s been learned that the man — who hasn’t yet been identified but was reportedly called “Rich” and “Richard” by air traffic controllers, is a married 29-year-old Horizon Air employee who had dreamed of joining the military, the Daily Mail reported.
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He was born in Key West, Florida and raised in Alaska. “Rich” got married and opened a bakery with his wife, which is now closed. In 2015, they moved to Seattle.
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said on Saturday morning that President Donald Trump had been briefed on the plane crash. Sheriff Paul Pastor said it wasn’t a terrorist incident but “a joyride gone terribly wrong.”
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