‘Stolen’ plane closes Seattle airport

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‘Stolen’ plane closes Seattle airport

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A Horizon Air Bombardier Dash 8 Q400, reported to be hijacked, flies over Fircrest, Washington, the U.S., before crashing in the South Puget Sound,Image copyright
Reuters

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The plane was filmed by a number of people after taking off

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

Authorities said an airline employee had made “an unauthorised take-off” without any passengers on board.

Officials said the plane later crashed into the sea. The identity and condition of the pilot are not known.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said it was “not a terrorist incident”, adding the man was local and 29.

According to the Seattle Times, air traffic control, who referred to the man by what is believed to be his first name, tried to encourage him to land.

The newspaper describes him as sounding “carefree and wild” in the audio.

A number of videos on social media show the plane flying over the area in an erratic manner.

The plane, a Horizon Air Q400, according to a statement from Horizon’s partner airline Alaska Airlines, was immediately pursued by US fighter jets.

It crashed on the south of Ketron Island, near a military facility. In the audio recording, the man can be heard starting to worry about how much fuel he had on board.

The Q400 is a twin-prop aeroplane with up to 78 seats, depending on configuration.

In a statement, the airport said: “An airline employee conducted an unauthorized takeoff without passengers at Sea-Tac; aircraft has crashed in south Puget Sound. Normal operations at Sea-Tac Airport have resumed.”

The airport said flights to and from Seattle-Tacoma had resumed.

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