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Horizon Air worker takes plane from Sea-Tac Airport, crashes on island in south Puget Sound

 
A Horizon Air worker took off Friday night in one of the airline’s Q400 turboprops at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and crashed on an island in south Puget Sound after being coaxed by air-traffic control to try to land and trailed by two fighter jets, officials said.

The plane was taken by a 29-year-old Sumner man about 8 p.m. and crashed on Ketron Island, near Steilacoom, about 90 minutes later, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. No passengers or crew appeared to be aboard the 76-seat plane.

The Sheriff’s Department said it was “not a terrorist incident.” The plane crashed either while the man was doing stunts or because of a lack of flying skills, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
 
“A joyride gone terribly wrong,” Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said during a news conference in Steilacoom, which is about 3 miles from the island.
 
No injuries were reported on the ground, Pastor said, as the plane crashed and started an intense fire on the wooded, 230-acre island, which has a population of 20. He said it appeared the man who took the plane died.

Horizon Air COO Constance von Muehlen said in a late-night video that “our hearts are with the family of the individual onboard as well as all our Alaska Air and Horizon Air employees.”

She said she believed the plane had been taken by “a single Horizon Air employee” and that no other passengers or crew were onboard. The employee was a “ground service agent,” according to Alaska Airlines.

Filed in: News

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