Video shows moment plane thief did a barrel roll before crashing

Clay Curtis
August 11, 2018

Flights from Sea-Tac were temporarily grounded but normal operations resumed around 9:30 p.m.

Officials with Alaska Airlines confirmed the plane as a Bombardier Q400 that belongs to Horizon Air.

Video from the scene shows the plane, which had no passengers on board, fly upside down while being tracked by fighter jets. Witnesses report F-15s chasing plane then saw smoke, and loud boom.

The plane "was doing stunts in the air or probably the lack of flying skills caused crash into Island", the department tweeted. The Q400 is a turboprop aircraft with 76 seats.

Video showed the passenger aeroplane making an unlikely upside-down aerial loop, then flying low over Puget Sound before crashing into the sparsely populated Ketron Island in the northwestern USA state of Washington.

"He said the man, a Pierce County resident, was acting alone".

In audio recordings with air traffic controllers, the man said he didn't want to disappoint them but that he was "just a broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess".

Air traffic controllers tried to talk the agent into landing but he refused.

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The tweet set off a flurry of speculation, given the controversy sparked by a Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki last month. Treasury in April imposed sanctions on Russian officials and oligarchs for election meddling and "malign" activities.

Airport officials confirmed via social media that no passengers were aboard the plane. "I was kind of hoping that was going to be it, you know".

Only the unidentified pilot was on the plane, according to authorities.

Alaska Air CEO Brad Tilden said the company was still "gathering facts" to understand why and how the mechanic was able to steal the plane.

"I felt like we were on the ground and we were safe, we weren't in the sky while something was going on", he said after getting off the plane.

"This is not a terrorist incident", a sheriff's office representative said.

Royal King of Mukilteo was photographing a wedding at Lake Steilacoom when he saw a low-flying Q400 plane and two F15 fighter jets trailing it.

Morse added that her mother, who lived closer to the crash site, texted about eight minutes later to say that her whole house shook. Video showed fiery flames amidst trees on the island, which is sparsely populated and only accessible by ferry.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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