An empty Bombardier Q400 (reg N449QX) was stolen by a Horizon Air Ground Service Agent from a cargo ramp stand in Seattle between 8:30 PM and 8:45 PM. The man, a 29-year-old who acted alone, was thought to be suicidal, said officials in Pierce County, where the plane crashed.
It is reported that the aircraft crashed near Ketron Island outside Seattle. It's a small island with about two dozen residents.
The Pierce County Sheriff tweeted the person was "doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills caused crash into Island. Witnesses report F-15s chasing plane then saw smoke, and loud boom.
North American Aerospace Defense Command scrambled fighter jets to accompany the plane, which was steered away from Seattle and Tacoma by air traffic control, on its hour-long flight, according to the source. The Pierce County Sheriff's Department said the two F-15s were not involved in the crash.
SeaTac Airport was temporarily grounded amid a security threat. Normal operations at Sea-Tac have resumed.
Communication between the hijacker and Air Traffic Control- "I've got a lot of people that care about me. 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 one point, an official urged him to land the plane.
The man sputtered.
“I don’t know man,” he said. “I don’t know. I don’t want to. I was kind of hoping that was gonna be it.”
This is a developing story, more information to come.