Alaska Airlines plane crashes after unauthorised take-off from Seattle airport

SeaTac Airport

A stolen airplane belonging to the Alaska Airlines crashed near Seattle's Sea-Tac International Airport late on Friday.

Fortunately, no passengers were believed to have been on board the Horizon Air Q400 when it was stolen from Seattle's Sea-Tac International Airport on Saturday afternoon (AEST).

The plane involved was a Horizon Air Q400 with no passengers on board, tweeted Alaskan Airlines.

A "suicidal" airline mechanic stole an Alaska Airlines plane without any passengers on it, took off from Washington state, and crashed near an island.

Pierce County Sheriff Public Information Officer Ed Troyer has said that officials believe the man who stole the plane is suffering from mental health issues. The local sheriff's office said the crash may have been caused by the man "doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills".

Horizon Air is owned by Seattle-based Alaska Airlines.

A Q400 Turboprop, like that stolen from Sea-Tac International Airport.

Video showed the aircraft doing large loops and other unsafe maneuvers as the sun set.

The unauthorized pilot was described by the Pierce County Sheriff's Department as a "suicidal male".

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The FBI is involved in the investigation, Troyer said.

Air traffic controllers tried to talk the agent into landing but he refused. "We are working back ground on him now". The aircraft crashed on Ketron Island in Puget Sound.

His motive is not clear, but audio between the cockpit and air traffic control indicates the man was in emotional distress. We're trying to get accurate information about what is actually going on.

The sheriff's office confirmed that F-15 fighter jets were scrambled to keep the plane out of harm's way and "people on the ground safe".

Only the unidentified pilot was on the plane, according to authorities.

"We can see evidence of fire on the hillside here on this island", he said in a reporter standup. Authorities say that this is not an incident of terrorism.

Leah Morse, who watched the plane flying over her house tailed by the jets, said: "I was outside watering and heard the jets, saw the plane coming, and something told me to get my phone and record".

This is a developing story.

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