Alaska Airlines tweeted that the plane involved is a Horizon Air Bombardier Q400 turboprop. There were no other passengers or crew members on board. The suspect was speaking to air traffic controllers. They tried to encourage him to land. Tower audio identified the suspect as “Rich.” The man can be heard starting to worry about how much fuel he had on board. A number of videos on social media show the plane flying over the area in an erratic manner.
Alaska Airlines acknowledged the incident in a statement, saying “We are aware of an incident involving an unauthorized take-off of a Horizon Air Q400.” A Q400 plane can seat as many as 75 passengers. The pilot involved in the incident was a 29-year-old man who was apparently suicidal. He was killed in the crash. Two F-15’s were scrambled to intercept the turboprop and that’s when it nose dived and crashed. Sea-Tac Airport was shut down during the incident but operations resumed following the crash. The U.S. Coast Guard was sending a 45-foot vessel to the crash scene after witnesses reported seeing a large plume of smoke in the air, The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said it was “not a terrorist incident.”