USA airline worker steals plane, takes it for flight before crashing it

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The Alaska Airlines plane that was stolen by an airline employee from Seattle-Tacoma International airport has crashed in Washington's South Puget Sound.

Witnesses reported seeing the plane being chased by military aircraft before it crashed on Ketron Island, southwest of Tacoma, Washington.

The plane was taken by a 29-year-old Sumner man about 8 p.m. and crashed on Ketron Island, near Steilacoom, about 90 minutes later, according to the Pierce County Sheriff's Department.

"Doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills caused crash into Island", the Sheriff's Department said on Twitter.

Officials from Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air said they were still working closely with authorities as they investigate what happened.

According to Mike Ehl, director of operations at Sea-Tac, 75 flights were delayed, nine flights were diverted to other airports and five flights were canceled.

The wife of an airline employee who hijacked a plane in Seattle had recorded their seven happy years of marriage on Instagram, calling him "the man who keeps me laughing".

"Commercial aircraft are complex machines", Beck said.

In the chilling recording, he revealed he was a "broken man" and apologised to the air traffic controller. "I would hope it is for a guy like me", he said.

There were no reports of injuries on the ground, he said, except presumably the pilot.

"I'm not quite ready to bring it down just yet", Rich said.

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The airline was coordinating with the Federal Aviation Administration, the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board, he said. The FBI is now investigating, while Alaska Air is cooperating with authorities and their own safety team to make sense of exactly what went down.

"I would like to apologise to each and every one of them".

In a news release issued Saturday (local time), the North American Aerospace Defense Command said two F-15C alert aircraft were scrambled from Portland but did not fire upon the plane.

In partial recordings of Russell's conversations with air traffic controllers that were published online by Broadcastify.com, he said he was sorry to disappoint people who cared about him and described himself as a "broken guy".

Video from a witness on the ground shows the plane at one point pulling up for a loop, putting the aircraft upside-down and then pulling back up just feet above a body of water.

NORAD said the fighters did not fire on the stolen airplane. He was only identified as an employee for Horizon Air, in a statement by Alaska Air Group CEO Brad Tilden.

"He had access legitimately" to the plane said Mike Ehl, director of aviation operations at the airport in the USA state of Washington, adding that "no security violations were committed".

Royal King of Mukilteo was photographing a wedding at Lake Steilacoom when he saw the low-flying plane and two fighter jets trailing it.

Per CNN, the man also had some freakish and heartbreaking radio correspondence from the cockpit before the 76-seat Horizon Air turboprop went down. Near the end of the video, you can also see the aftermath of the crash.

'It was unfathomable, it was something out of a movie, ' he told the newspaper.

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