On 10 August, the 29-year-old mechanic at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport stole a Horizon Air 76-seat passenger airplane.
The aircraft took off and began manoeuvering over Puget Sound. F-15 fighter jets were sent from Portland to control the situation and, if necessary to intercept it.
According to the mercurynews.com, witnesses reported seeing the Bombardier Q400, a turboprop aircraft, perform a loop-the-loop and nearly slam into Chambers Bay, all while being pursued by fighter jets. The aircraft then crashed into Ketron Island, 40 km to the southwest of the Seattle/Tacoma Airport.
No passengers were on board and there were no reports of injuries on the ground.
Royal King told The Seattle Times he was photographing a wedding when he saw the low-flying turboprop being chased by to F-15s. He said he didn’t see the crash but saw smoke.
‘It was unfathomable, it was something out of a movie,’ he told the newspaper. ‘The smoke lingered. You could still hear the F-15s, which were flying low.’
Sheriff’s department spokesman Ed Troyer also confirmed that two U.S. Air Force F-15s intercepted the plane within minutes of its departure from Sea-Tac, but they were not involved in its crash near Ketron Island.
Two F-15 fighter jets supposedly from the 142nd Fighter Wing, Portland Air National Guard Base, Portland were “not involved in (the) crash,” the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office tweeted Friday.
The Bombardier Dash-8 Q400 crashed into Ketron Island south of Tacoma, the sheriff’s office said.
“Preliminary info is that a mechanic from unknown airlines stole plane. Was doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills (that) caused crash into Island,” the sheriff’s office said.
Video by Cameron Thomsen
— Cameron Thomsen (@CameronThomsen) 11 August 2018
Some dude stole a plane from #Seatac (Allegedly), did a loop-the-loop, ALMOST crashed into #ChambersBay, then crossed in front of our party, chased by fighter jets and subsequently crashed. Weird times. pic.twitter.com/Ra4LcIhwfU
— bmbdgty (@drbmbdgty) 11 August 2018