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‘Suicidal’ mechanic steals plane from Seattle airport

SEATAC, Washington (AP) — A “suicidal” airline mechanic stole an empty Horizon Air turboprop plane, took off from Sea-Tac International Airport and was chased by military jets before crashing into a small island in the Puget Sound on Friday night, officials said.

Preliminary information suggests the crash occurred because the 29-year-old mechanic was “doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills,” the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said.

Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, said on Twitter the man was suicidal and there was no connection to terrorism.

Video showed the Horizon Air Q400 doing large loops and other dangerous maneuvers as the sun set. There were no passengers aboard.

Witnesses reported seeing the plane being chased by military aircraft before it crashed on Ketron Island, southwest of Tacoma, Washington. Troyer said F-15 aircraft scrambled out of Portland, Oregon, and were in the air “within a few minutes” and the pilots kept “people on the ground safe.”

The sheriff’s department said they were working to conduct a background investigation on the Pierce County resident, whose name was not immediately released.

Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said the man “did something foolish and may well have paid with his life.”
The man’s condition after the crash wasn’t immediately known.

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