Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, said on Twitter that preliminary information suggests the crash occurred because the man was "doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills". "But could you start a left-hand turn, please?"
The man could be heard on audio recordings telling air traffic controllers that he's "got a lot of people that care about me" and that he is "just a broken guy". I don't know man! "Never really knew it until now".
Sheriff's officials say a man who stole an Alaska Airlines plane from an airport in Washington state was "suicidal" and there is no connection to terrorism. "I would hope it is for a guy like me". Although details remain scant at this time, operations at SeaTac were temporarily shut down and two Air National Guard F-15Cs, call sign Rock 41 and 42, from the 142 Fighter Wing in Portland, Oregon, were scrambled to intercept the Q400.
Witnesses on the ground also said the plane was being followed by military aircraft before it crashed.
Video footage on social media showed a large plane flying above the Seattle area with a F-15 fighter jet following it. "Oh they probably have got anti-aircraft".
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) thanked the Air National Guard from Washington and OR for scrambling the jets, which "were ready to do whatever was needed to protect us", he said in a statement.
He says the pilot then "pulled pretty much straight up and kind of at an angle", adding he "somehow he got it levelled back off and then made his way down toward the island".
The air-traffic control says they don't have those weapons.
Fire crews were working on putting out the fire from the crash on Ketron Island in Puget Sound.
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"Everyone was literally frozen in place, muttering about what possibly happened", he said. He died when the plane crashed after a 90 minutes "joy ride". The recorders will then be sent to NTSB headquarters in Washington, D.C. for examination, she said during a Saturday news conference in Steilacoom. "We heard the jet because our windows were down while we were waiting in the ferry line to go to Anderson Island, which is adjacent to Ketron Island".
The aircraft was stolen at about 8 p.m. Alaska Airlines said it was in a "maintenance position" and not scheduled for a passenger flight.
It crashed about an hour after it was stolen and did not hit any ground structures.
The regional airline, based at the Seattle-Tacoma airport, is owned by the Alaska Air Group.
According to officials with PCSD, Federal agencies will lead the investigation. "We are giving those investigators our full support and cooperation", Tilden said in a statement.
The local sheriff's office quickly described him via Twitter as "suicidal", but audio from his conversation with the Sea-Tac control tower portrays a more complex picture.
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The plane was a Q400, a Bombardier turboprop plane, one of about 40 the airline has in its fleet.