A suicidal airline worker has crashed an empty passenger plane after stealing it.
Two military F-15 jets were scrambled late Friday after the airline worker stole and later crashed the plane from the Seattle-Tacoma airport.
Local authorities quickly ruled out terrorism as a motive for the incident, and said the F-15s “were not involved in the crash.”
Federal authorities were searching on Saturday for what drove an airline worker to steal an empty airplane from Seattle’s airport and crashing it into a nearby sparsely populated island, sparking a security scare that saw U.S. fighter jets scrambled.
The 29-year-old Horizon Air ground service agent, who has not been identified, was suicidal and appeared to have acted alone, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said on Twitter, adding the employee was probably killed in the crash.
The Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating the incident, said Brad Tilden, the CEO of Alaska Air Group, in an online statement.
Video taken by a bystander showed the airplane making a loop, then flying low over a body of water.
Alaska Airlines on Twitter said the airplane was a turboprop Q400 airplane belonging to its sister carrier Horizon Air.
Local media described the man who stole the plane as a mechanic.