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This is probably jail time for life: Man who hijacked Alaskan Airline aircraft

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A ‘suicidal’ airline mechanic took possession of the Horizon Air Q400 aircraft from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Washington state and crashed on an island because he was “doing stunts in [the] air or [a] lack of flying skills”, the sheriff’s department said on Twitter on Friday night in Seattle.

The aircraft was captured on video doing large loops and other dangerous manoeuvres during dusk. The plane did not have passengers onboard when it crashed on Ketron Island, situated in southern Puget Sound area of Seattle city, Fox News reported.

Two military F-15 aircrafts scrambled to intercept the plane but they were reportedly not involved in the crash. “Pilots kept plane out of harm’s way and people on ground safe,” the sheriff’s department said.

“There is a runway just off to your right side in about a mile,” the controller said, referring to an airfield at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

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

The man then said: “I’ve got a lot of people that care about me. It’s going to disappoint them to hear that I did this… Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose I guess.”

The suspect identified as ‘Rich’ by the Air Control Tower audio, asked them before crashing, “Hey, do you think if I land this successfully Alaska will give me a job as a pilot?”

Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said the man “did something foolish and may well have paid with his life”.

The US Coast Guard then sent a vessel to the crash site.

“Our hearts are with the family of the individual aboard, along with all of our Alaska Air and Horizon Air employees,” Horizon Air Chief Operating Officer, Constance von Muehlen said in a video.

In a statement, Alaska Airlines confirmed the incident and said operations at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport have resumed thereafter.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, the primary law enforcement agency for Pierce County in Washington, described the unauthorized pilot as a “suicidal male”.

“This is not a terrorist incident. We have confirmed the information. We know who he is. No others are involved,” the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said in an official tweet.

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