Man who stole plane and died in crash had North Dakota ties

A Horizon Q400 airplane

Two F-15Cs from the 142nd Fighter Wing from the Portland Air National Guard Base in OR were scrambled on Friday evening after a "suicidal" airline employee absconded in a Bombardier Q-400 twin-turboprop airliner out of Seattle International Airport before crashing the aircraft on a small island.

Sea-Tac Airport confirmed via Twitter that an airline employee conducted an unauthorized takeoff of a Horizon Air Turbo Prop without passengers on board. "Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess". "So that would be, they have their own security program through the TSA", said Wilsey.

It was unclear how the employee was able to taxi the plane on a runway and take off without authorization.

I want to thank the Air National Guard from Washington and OR for scrambling jets to keep Washingtonians safe. Two military planes were soon in pursuit, and tailed the man for the rest of his journey around Seattle and Puget Sound.

"But daily when they are showing up for work they are going to go through a physical screening before they can enter a secure area at the Port of Seattle, Sea-Tac International Airport, just like a passenger goes through a physical screening area".

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"Oh man. Those guys will rough me up if I try and land there", the man responded, later adding "This is probably jail time for life, huh?"

Officials said Saturday that the man was a 3.5-year Horizon Airlines employee and had clearance to be among aircraft, but that to their knowledge, he wasn't a licensed pilot. The plane went through several 100-foot-high lines of trees and was fragmented from the crash into pieces tiny enough to pick up, NTSB Western Pacific Region chief Debra Eckrote said Sunday.

Officials don't believe Russell had a pilot's license, and they don't know how he knew to fly the plane.

The Bombardier Q400 turboprop is designed for short-distance flights and can seat 76 passengers, Alaska Air said. They described the man as "suicidal" and said he "acted alone". "We're just trying to find a place for you to land safely". Alaska Airlines said they are not ready to share those details but they are providing that information to the FBI and federal regulators. I was kind of hoping that was going to be it, you know.

Irwin Downes recorded a cloud of smoke billowing from Ketron Island after the crash. No one was hurt on the ground, authorities said.