In a freak incident on Friday, an airline worker stole an empty plane from Seattle airport and crashed it into a nearby sparsely populated island. No passengers were on board when the plane crashed. While authorities have dismissed any indication of the incident being an act of terror, it is unclear how the employee was able to taxi the plane on a runway and take off without authorization. The incident has sparked a security scare though normal operations had resumed.
The 29-year-old pilot was suicidal and appeared to have acted alone. The incident was noticed by a pair of F-15C Eagles from the 142nd Fighter Wing of the Oregon Air National Guard. As per some reports, the F-15s "broke the sound barrier" on the way to intercept the stolen airliner.
"Told F-15s made it within a few minutes of theft of plane. Pilots kept plane out of harm`s way and people on ground safe," officials said.
Video footage on social media showed a large plane flying above the Seattle area with an F-15 following it. "Okay this insane. A pilot on the plane in front of us just went rogue and took off on an empty plane bypassing orders from the tower," tweeted Ben Schaechter, a passenger on an airplane that was taxiing to take off before the incident.
The Bombardier Q400 turboprop airplane is designed for shorter-distance flights and can seat 76 passengers, Alaska Air said on its website.