EXCLUSIVE: Suicidal Seattle airport mechanic who stole a 76-seat plane and performed stunts before crashing into an island in a ball of flames is a married 29-year-old from Alaska who dreamed of joining the military

Saturday, August 11, 2018
By Paul Martin

Horizon Air Q400 stolen from Seattle-Tacoma Airport by a suicidal ex-employee who flew in loop-the-loops
F-15 fighters scrambled ‘within minutes’ and directed the plane from populated areas towards the coast
Plunged into a heavily wooded area on the sparsely-populated Ketron Island and was engulfed by flames
Police described the pilot as a 29-year-old employee who lived in Pierce County but did not name him
His main role at the airport was to unload bags, and seems to have had no flying experience
Extraordinary audio from the airport traffic control tower sees officials addressing the pilot as ‘Rich’
‘I’m not ready to bring it down yet,’ Rich says, before joking about how he will have to do ‘jail time for life’
Friday’s incident caused travel chaos with planes stranded on the runway and several flights delayed

11 August 2018

The man who hijacked an Alaska Airlines plane in Seattle on Friday night taking it for a joyride before crashing on an island in a ball of flames is a married 29-year-old Horizon Air employee who dreamed of joining the military.

The mechanic, referred to as ‘Rich’ and ‘Richard’ by air traffic controllers, was born in Key West, Florida and moved to Alaska as a child.

He met his wife in Oregon in 2010 while they were in school and married one year later. The newlyweds then opened a bakery together, which is now closed. They moved to Seattle in 2015.

While living in Seattle, Rich started working for Horizon Airlines with the hopes of working in a management position. He also had dreams of becoming an officer in the military.

His main role at the airport was to unload bags, and seems to have had no flying experience. He was also not permitted to fly planes.

His condition after the crash wasn’t immediately known.

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said on Saturday morning that president Trump had been briefed on the incident and was monitoring the situation. She also praised the response effort for its ‘swift action’ and ensuring public safety.

During the hijacking Friday night at Seattle-Tacoma Airport, Rich joked with air traffic controllers for more than 20 minutes before crashing it into an island 25 miles away.

The 29-year-old employee took off in the 76-seater Horizon Air turboprop Q400 about 8pm after he took it from a maintenance area.

At one point, Rich asked air traffic controllers: ‘Hey do you think if I land this successfully Alaska will give me a job as a pilot?’

The air traffic controller, trying to keep him on side, replied ‘you know, I think they would give you a job doing anything if you could pull this off’, to which Rich replied: ‘Yeah right! Nah, I’m a white guy.’

Two F-15 fighter jets scrambled from Portland ‘minutes’ after the plane took off to intercept it, according to Pierce County Sheriff’s Office.

Witnesses described seeing the aircraft performing barrel rolls and loop-the-loops as the military planes directed it away from highly-populated areas and towards Ketron Island, where it crashed into a ball of flame.

While still in the air, the pilot was heard telling traffic controllers he was ‘just a broken guy’ before telling them he was preparing for ‘jail time for life’. Police blamed ‘doing stunts in the air and a lack of flying skills’ for the crash.

Air traffic controllers begged Rich to land the plane and tried to give him directions to a runway where he could put the plane down in one piece.

The Rest…HERE

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