FBI rules out terrorism in Seattle plane crash

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Washington, Aug 12 (IANS) The airline employee who stole a plane on Friday in Seattle and crashed soon afterward did not have any links to terrorist organizations and was seeking to commit suicide, the FBI said on Saturday.

The FBI said via Twitter that “the information gathered thus far does NOT suggest a terrorist threat”.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department previously said that preliminary investigations suggested that the 29-year-old man who stole the plane was suicidal and had crashed because he was “doing stunts in air” or because of a “lack of flying skills”, Efe reported.

The man, who worked for an airline at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, stole an empty 76-seat plane Friday night belonging to Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaska Airlines, and took off without authorization.

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Soon afterward, the North American Aerospace Defense Command launched two F-15 fighter jets to pursue the stolen plane, which crashed on Ketron Island, between Tacoma and Olympia, after performing air stunts.

According to White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, US president Donald Trump had been informed on the incident and was monitoring the situation from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

“Federal authorities are assisting with the ongoing investigation which is being led by local authorities. We commend the interagency response effort for their swift action and protection of public safety,” Sanders said in a statement.

While the incident was taking place, no plane was allowed to take off from Seattle-Tacoma, which is ranked the ninth busiest airport in the United States, serving 46.9 million passengers in 2017.

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–IANS

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