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“An airline employee conducted an unauthorized takeoff without passengers at Sea-Tac; aircraft has crashed in south Puget Sound.”

An Alaska Airlines Q400 passenger airplane was stolen from Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) late Friday night and has since crashed in south Puget Sound. According to local media, witnesses have reported seeing F-15 fighter jets chasing the plane, followed by smoke and loud boom.

What we know

  • Sea-Tac airport confirmed on Twitter at 12:31 am EDT that “An airline employee conducted an unauthorized takeoff without passengers at Sea-Tac; aircraft has crashed in south Puget Sound.”
  • A spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed to NBC News that a “security issue” involving SeaTac airport in the Seattle area is being investigated.
  • At 12:16 am EDT, Alaska Airlines tweeted: “We are aware of an incident involving an unauthorized take-off of a Horizon Air Q400. We believe there are no passengers on board. More information as we learn more.”
  • Aviation journalist Jon Ostrower was able to capture audio of the final radio call between the pilot, who called himself “Rick,” and air traffic controllers on the ground.

What we don’t know

  • Whether the plane crashed on its own or was shot down
  • Who stole the plane or why
  • If the person who stole the plane survived the crash

This is a developing news story. This post will be updated as more information comes in.

Author: Jennifer Williams


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