All flights were grounded at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Friday night after a person stole an airplane and flew it over Puget Sound.
Airport officials later confirmed that the plane had crashed in south Puget Sound and identified the person who took the plane as an “airline employee.”
Alaska Airlines said it was aware of an “incident involving an unauthorized take-off of a Horizon Air Q400,” adding that it believed there were no passengers aboard the plane. A Bombardier Q400 can carry about 76 passengers.
Two F-15 Eagles were deployed in response to the incident.
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
Apparently an unauthorized person with a plane is tying up air space over Seattle. I'm waiting on the tarmac to depart on a flight from Seattle to San Diego. The pilot just made an announcement. Anyone have any more details? @FAANews?
— Anna Boiko-Weyrauch (@AnnaBoikoW) August 11, 2018
Witnesses said they saw a plane do a “loop-the-loop” as it was being followed by fighter jets near Chambers Bay, near Tacoma. Twitter user @drbmbdgty tweeted the video, adding that the plane “subsequently crashed.”
The plane crashed onto Ketron Island in Puget Sound, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office.
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
Apparently someone stole a plane from SeaTac? Saw two fighter jets fly overhead then smoke pic.twitter.com/w0bveGUJQH
— McKenna Brown (@mckenna_brown) August 11, 2018
This story has been updated with details about the plane crashing.