An allegedly “suicidal” airline ground service agent, named as Richard 'Beebo' Russell, 29, stole an empty Horizon Airlines Bombardier (Dash 8) Q400 twin turboprop 76 seat short haul aircraft, on Friday evening and unchallenged took off from Sea-Tac (Seattle Tacoma) International Airport Washington State USA.

Alaska Horizon Airlines Bombardier (Dash 8) Q400 twin turboprop 76 seat short haul aircraft

An allegedly “suicidal” airline ground service agent, a 29-year-old male, later named as Richard 'Beebo' Russell stole an empty parked uup Alaska Horizon Airlines Bombardier (Dash 8) Q400 twin turboprop 76 seat short haul aircraft, on Friday evening and unchallenged took off from Sea-Tac (Seattle Tacoma) International Airport Washington State USA.  Mr Russell was security cleared, in uniform type overalls and authorised to move aircraft (tow and pushbacks).

As the only person on the plane, the thief calmly chatting to air traffic control (who urged him to land, but he refused) then looped the Canadian manufactured plane and attempted some 'stunts'. He was chased then escorted, by two scrambled military F15 jets, before crashing some 50 minutes later near a small island known as Ketron Island in the Puget Sound on Friday night, officials said.

Had Mr Russell endangered communities below his erratic flight path or deliberately set the plane to crash on populated areas, the F15s' would have had full authority to use all measures to avert such a disaster, this would probably include using the F15 wingtip to tip/upend the Dash 8 wing so the aircraft would be diverted in a different direction say out to sea, and then if all else fails shoot it down.
 
The 29-year-old married employee stole the Horizon Air (Dash 8) Q400 and the crash occurred because he was “doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills,” Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, said on Twitter the man was suicidal and there was no connection to terrorism.
 
Witnesses reported seeing the plane being chased by F15 military aircraft before it crashed near Ketron Island, southwest of Tacoma, Washington. Officials said F-15 aircraft were in the air “within a few minutes” and the military pilots kept “people on the ground safe.”
 
The sheriff’s department said they were working to conduct a background investigation on the Pierce County resident, whose name was not immediately released.  The male 'pilot' could be heard on audio recordings telling air traffic controllers that he is “just a broken guy.”
 
The U.S. Coast Guard sent  a 45-foot vessel to the crash scene on Ketron Island and fire departments put additional fire tenders on a commercial ferry to assist with controlling  the aircraft blaze.   Witnesses reported seeing a large plume of smoke in the air, Petty Officer Ali Flockerzi said. The man’s condition wasn’t immediately known. Later reports say the lone 'pilot' died as the crashed on impact and caught fire.
 
 Horizon Air is part of Alaska Air Group and flies shorter routes throughout the U.S. West. The (Dash8) Q400 is a Canadian built Bombardier twin turboprop aircraft with 76 seats.  
 

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