According to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, the man, who was called Rich by air traffic control personnel, is an Alaska Air Horizon employee who allegedly stole the Horizon Air Q400, causing the airport to shut down temporarily Friday night.
“Male is confirmed a suicidal male. Acted alone he is 29-year-old Pierce county residence [sic],” the police said, adding that it was not a “terrorist incident”.
The police suggested that the crash occurred because the man was “doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills.” He crashed the plane near a small island in the Puget Sound in Washington.
The airport, in a tweet Friday night, said:
“An airline employee conducted an unauthorized takeoff without permission at Sea-Tac; aircraft has crashed in south Puget Sound. Normal operations at Sea-Tac Airport have resumed.”
In a statement to People, Alaska Airlines said, “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.”
Watch a video of the plane flying shortly before it crashed:
Watch videos of him doing stunts:
The man could be heard on audio recordings telling air traffic controllers that he is “just a broken guy.”
The air traffic controller who claimed to be Captain Bill tried to steer him from flying over the airport.
“There is a runway just off to your right side in about a mile,” Captain Bill said but the man replied “Oh man. Those guys will rough me up if I try and land there…. This is probably jail time for life, huh?”
“I’ve got a lot of people that care about me. It’s going to disappoint them to hear that I did this. I would like to apologize to each and every one of them. Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess. Never really knew it, until now,” the man added.
Captain Bill told him to fly over water to avoid hurting people.
When Captain Bill tried to get him to land the plane, the man said: “I don’t know man. I don’t wanna, I don’t know.”
The man was seen doing some stunts with the plane shortly before it crashed. The man said he is a “white guy”.