SINGAPORE: An airline employee took control of an airplane and carried out an unauthorised take-off from Seattle–Tacoma (Sea-Tac) International Airport in Washington state on Friday (Aug 10) evening, sparking a security issue and grounding flights.
The plane involved was a Horizon Air plane, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group. No passengers were on board at the time of the incident.
“An airline employee conducted an unauthorised takeoff without passengers at Sea-Tac; aircraft has crashed in south Puget Sound. Normal operations at Sea-Tac Airport have resumed,” the airport operator said on its Twitter page.
An airline employee conducted an unauthorized takeoff without passengers at Sea-Tac; aircraft has crashed in south Puget Sound. Normal operations at Sea-Tac Airport have resumed.
— Sea-Tac Airport (@SeaTacAirport) August 11, 2018
Alaska Airlines had earlier alerted the public to the incident, saying that it was aware of an incident involving the unauthorised take-off of a Horizon Air Q400 turboprop plane.
We are aware of an incident involving an unauthorized take-off of a Horizon Air Q400. We believe there are no passengers on board. More information as we learn more.
— Alaska Airlines (@AlaskaAir) August 11, 2018
NBC reported a Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson as saying that a “security issue” involving Sea-Tac airport was being investigated.
Witness reports and videos posted on social media showed a plane flying low, trailed by at least one fighter jet.
The Guardian reported that the airport and its surrounding skies were shut down. One or more F-15 fighter planes contacted the rogue aircraft and it crashed soon afterwards, it added, citing local media.
Some dude stole a plane from #Seatac (Allegedly), did a loop-the-loop, ALMOST crashed into #ChambersBay, then crossed in front of our party, chased by fighter jets and subsequently crashed. Weird times. pic.twitter.com/Ra4LcIhwfU
— bmbdgty (@drbmbdgty) August 11, 2018
Seconds after the plan crashed pic.twitter.com/SgxmAr66WG
— iRViNGTON BiLLSWORTH 🧜🏿♂️ (@iRVvyBaun) August 11, 2018
Passengers affected by the emergency reported that their planes were stopped abruptly on the runway.
“A pilot on the plane in front of us just went rogue and took off on an empty plane bypassing orders from the tower. The tower ordered a full stop and they’re trying to communicate with that pilot,” said Twitter user Ben Schaechter.
Okay this insane. A pilot on the plane in front of us just went rogue and took off on an empty plane bypassing orders from the tower. The tower ordered a full stop and they’re trying to communicate with that pilot. Whaaaaaat!
— Ben Schaechter (@Bensign) August 11, 2018
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