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FBI seeks motive after U.S. airline worker stole plane and crashed it

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FBI seeks motive after U.S. airline worker stole plane and crashed it

By Brendan O'Brien and Alex Dobuzinskis

 

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A Horizon Air Bombardier Dash 8 Q400, reported to be hijacked, flies over University Place, Washington, the U.S., before crashing in the South Puget Sound, August 10, 2018 in this still image taken from a video obtained from social media. John Waldron/via REUTERS

 

(Reuters) - Federal authorities on Saturday were seeking to learn what drove an airline worker to steal an empty airplane from Seattle's airport in a security scare that caused the scrambling of U.S. fighter jets and ended when the plane crashed onto a sparsely populated island.

 

A Horizon Air ground service agent got into a Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft on Friday night in a maintenance area at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and took off, Horizon sister carrier Alaska Airlines said.

 

He flew for about one hour, often erratically with attempts at aerial stunts, before crashing on Ketron Island in Puget Sound, some 25 miles (40 km) to the southwest.

 

The 29-year-old man, who has not been named, was suicidal and appeared to have acted alone, according to authorities. He was believed to have been killed in the crash.

 

He was not known to have had a pilot's licence, Horizon Air Chief Executive Gary Beck said at a news conference, and it was not clear how he was able to take off and fly like he did.

 

"There were some manoeuvres that were done that were incredible manoeuvres with the aircraft," Beck said. "Commercial aircraft are complex machines. They're not as easy to fly as, say, a Cessna 150, so I don't know how he achieved the experience that he did," Beck said.

 

The local sheriff's department said on Twitter that either doing stunts "or lack of flying skills" caused the crash.

 

In partial recordings of the employee's conversations with air traffic controllers that were published online by Broadcastify.com, the man said he was sorry to disappoint people who cared about him and described himself as a "broken guy."

 

"Got a few screws loose, I guess," he is heard saying in the recording. "Never really knew it until now."

 

The employee had worked for Horizon Air for 3-1/2 years and had clearance to tow planes, Alaska Airlines Chief Executive Brad Tilden said at the news conference.

 

He said airplanes of that type do not have doors that lock or ignition keys like cars.

 

"The setup in aviation in America is we secure the airfield and then we have the mindset that we have employees that are credentialed and authorized to be there," Tilden said, adding that the airline was working with authorities to investigate.

 

The FBI is leading the probe, which also includes the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

 

"We are going to be thorough, which means taking the time needed to scour the area, delve into the background of the individual believed responsible, and review every aspect of this incident with all appropriate public & private partners," the FBI said in a statement.

 

Two F-15 fighter jets took to the air from a base in Portland, Oregon, and were on the scene within minutes. The jets were armed but did not open fire, North American Aerospace Defence Command spokesman Cameron Hillier said by phone.

 

Instead, the F-15 pilots and air traffic controllers tried to guide the plane west, away from populated areas, said Hillier. No one was hurt on the ground, authorities said.

 

It was unclear how the employee was able to taxi the plane on a runway and take off without authorization.

 

The Bombardier Q400 turboprop is designed for short-distance flights and can seat 76 passengers, Alaska Air said.

 

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-08-12
 
 

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Posted (edited)

some steel a car, I remember a man who stole a tractor(john deer), and went on a joy ride,also that man who stole the tank and did all that damage...same same but different...

Edited by mok199
speliings

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Posted (edited)

They say there is no evidence of him having flight training.  I believe they may find he had a "flight simulator" program and was an enthusiast on his computer.  Quite realistic and can learn a lot.  Just a guess on my part.

EDIT;  Ok, I just found this.  Good guess! 🙂

"Russell reportedly told air traffic controller that he'd played enough video games to know how to fly a plane. Authorities on Saturday would not speculate whether the man learned to fly via video games. 

Rosenker said on CBSN, however, that "there are video games that deal with the simulation of these aircrafts. ... You could learn a great deal playing these types of games.""

Edited by silverhawk_usa
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14 minutes ago, silverhawk_usa said:

They say there is no evidence of him having flight training.  I believe they may find he had a "flight simulator" program and was an enthusiast on his computer.  Quite realistic and can learn a lot.  Just a guess on my part.

When you work on aircraft, you do become familiar with them. I spent most of my career working on them plus many years maintaining flight simulators, I'm fairly confident that I could have done the same thing had I been so minded.

 

There was a similar incident to this at a USAF base in the UK in 1969. A homesick AF sergeant stole a C130 and attempted to fly home to see his wife. That one ended up in the English Channel.

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6 hours ago, rooster59 said:

FBI seeks motive after U.S. airline worker stole plane and crashed it

That's a no-brainer - The guy said it himself: He had a screw loose. This was obviously a fantasy that became a compulsion, and he acted out on it. 

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7 hours ago, rooster59 said:

Two F-15 fighter jets took to the air from a base in Portland, Oregon, and were on the scene within minutes

 

 

absolutely its just when commercial jets are hijacked and or fly off course without authorization that they are allowed to fly around for well over 1 hour and no military jets are scrambled as was the case on 9 11

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, atyclb said:

 

 

absolutely its just when commercial jets are hijacked and or fly off course without authorization that they are allowed to fly around for well over 1 hour and no military jets are scrambled as was the case on 9 11

 

That was then.

 

This is now.

 

See "New Phenomenon", "Hostage Takers or Kamikaze Pilots?", "Learning Curve", "Correct Threat Identification, Assessment and Appropriate Response", etc, etc.

 

 

Edited by Enoon
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10 minutes ago, Enoon said:
33 minutes ago, atyclb said:

 

 

absolutely its just when commercial jets are hijacked and or fly off course without authorization that they are allowed to fly around for well over 1 hour and no military jets are scrambled as was the case on 9 11

 

That was then.

 

This is now.

 

See "New Phenomenon", "Hostage Takers or Kamikaze Pilots?", "Learning Curve", "Correct Threat Identification, Assessment and Appropriate Response", etc, etc.

 

the protocol then was also to scramble jets

 

 

btw the excuse given then was not related to your reply content

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13 minutes ago, spidermike007 said:

The major nightly news showed the fighter jets with a mile or two of the jets that crashed into the towers. That footage was not allowed on American news. 

 

 

that is amazing and contrary to what the government claimed.  you have a link for that video?

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Immediate job opening, Horizon Air Ground Services Department. 

 

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49 minutes ago, spidermike007 said:

Not the case. There was no doubt that fighter jets were scrambled within minutes of those planes being hijacked. The fact that they were not shot down was a decision on the part of King George II.

 

50 years from now, we'll find out that the F16's did shoot down the plane that crashed in PA.  But Cheney won't fess up to ordering it.

 

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BANGKOK 21 August 2018 15:08
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