Sea-Tac Airport Plane Crashes After 'Suicidal' Pilot Conducts Unauthorized Takeoff

A plane at Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle, Washington reportedly crashed on Friday night after an "unauthorized takeoff."

The Sea-Tac Airport official Twitter account confirmed the news just after midnight, confirming that there were no passengers on the stolen plane. The aircraft crashed on a small island outside of the city.

"An airline employee conducted an unauthorized takeoff without passengers at Sea-Tac," the tweet read, "aircraft has crashed in south Puget Sound. Normal operations at Sea-Tac Airport have resumed."

The hijacking was later described as a suicide by the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, according to a report by The Washington Post. The suspect was identified only as a 29-year-old man, and police noted that he was "doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills.

On Saturday morning, the Horizon Air Chief Operating Officer, Constance von Muehlen, read another statement on CNN.

"I'm sorry to share with you this morning that at approximately 8 p.m., one of our Q400 airplanes made an unauthorized takeoff from Sea-Tac Airport," she said. "We believe that it was taken by a single Horizon Air employee, and that no other passengers or crew were on board."

"Shortly thereafter, it crashed on Ketron Island near south Tacoma," she went on. "Our hearts are with the family of the individual aboard, as well as all our Alaska Air and Horizon Air employees. We will provide more information as it becomes available."

The hijacker spoke to air traffic controllers openly and candidly throughout his flight, seeming to confirm that the stunt was a form of suicide. Canadian journalist Jimmy Thompson isolated clips of the conversation from Broadcastify and posted them on Twitter.

"I've got a lot of people that care about me," he said. "It's going to disappoint them to hear that I did this. I would like to apologize to each and every one of them. Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose I guess. Never really knew it until now."

At another point, the controllers tried to coax the hijacker down onto a runway. After seeming to consider it for a moment he said: "This is probably jail time for life, huh? Well I would hope it would be for a guy like me."

Perhaps the most ominous clip came with no context, as other broadcasts interrupted it. It featured the hijacker seemingly addressing his motives.

"Ah, minimum wage," he said. "We'll chalk it up to that. Maybe that will grease the gears a little bit with the higher-ups."

Police have been careful to characterize the incident as a suicide as opposed to a terrorist act.


If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).