An airline worker stole an empty aircraft from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in the US and flew it for about one hour before crashing in a wooded area 40 miles away.
The airport officials said the Horizon Air employee flew the 76-seater aircraft from the airport without authorization at around 8 p.m. local time. Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said the yet to be named 29-year-old ground service agent died in the crash.
The man had initially been identified as a mechanic but it has since been confirmed he was a ground service agent. His work involved directing planes for takeoff, gate approach and de-icing aircrafts.
“Our hearts are with the families of the individual aboard as well as all of our Alaska Air and Horizon Air employees,” said Constance von Muehlen, the airline’s chief operating officer.
Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said the incident is not classified as an act of terrorism. "The employee was doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills caused crash into Island,” the sheriff’s department tweeted.
Two military F-15 jets had been chasing the plane before it crashed in Ketron Island between Tacoma and Olympia.
“Pilots kept plane out of harms way and people on ground safe,” the sheriff’s office tweeted.