Washington, Aug 11 (IANS) An plane has crashed after it was stolen by a ground employee from an airport in Washington state, authorities said.
North American Aerospace Defence Command scrambled fighter jets on Friday night to accompany the Horizon Airlines plane, which was steered away from Seattle and Tacoma by air traffic control, on its hour-long flight, ABC News reported.
The crash took place on Ketron Island, southwest of Tacoma. The small island has only about 20 year-round residents.
The employee who stole the plane from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was 29 years old, from Pierce County and called “suicidal” by the sheriff’s department.
The department clarified that this was not a terrorist incident.
“Most terrorists don’t do loops over the water,” Sheriff Paul Pastor said. “This might have been a joyride gone terribly wrong.”
“Stolen horizon airplane crashed into Ketron island. Preliminary info is that a mechanic from unknown airlines stole plane. Was doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills caused crash into Island,” Pastor tweeted.
The plane, a Bombardier Dash 8 – Q400, has the capability to hold about 75 passengers and is used for short travel.
The FBI said it was in contact with officials, but it was too early for them to comment on specifics.