An air traffic controller tried to convince him to land the aeroplane.
They intercepted the plane near Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Although it's not yet known how Richard, who worked with airport baggage and was not a pilot, was able to get in the plane and fly it away from the airport without being caught, F-15 fighter jets were called to track him as soon as airline employees realized what was going on. "I would like to apologize to each and every one of them". "Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess".
Video footage on social media showed a large plane flying above the Seattle area with a F-15 fighter jet following it.
"The person who stole it was either doing it on a lark, or was suicidal", Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said on Friday.
At a news conference in Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, officials from Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air said they still working closely with authorities as they investigated what happened.More news: Torchlight Frontiers continues the ARPG series
"We are going to be thorough, which means taking the time needed to scour the area, delve into the background of the individual believed responsible, and review every aspect of this incident with all appropriate public & private partners", the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement.
"An airline employee conducted an unauthorized takeoff without passengers at Sea-Tac; aircraft has crashed in south Puget Sound", it read.
The conversation between the man, addressed as Rich/Richard, and the air-traffic controller right before the Horizon Air Q400 plane crash, was released by Aviation journalist Jon Ostrower on Twitter.
It was unclear where he got the skills to perform such manoeuvres, authorities said.
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The plane was stolen at around 8 pm (0300 GMT Saturday) and crashed 90 minutes later, officials said. After flying around an unpredictable path, the plane crashed at a nearby island. "They're not as easy to fly as, say, a Cessna 150, so I don't know how he achieved the experience that he did", Beck said.
As Russell nosedived toward the water, "We were all screaming, 'Oh my god, oh my god!' and I was yelling, 'Pull up, pull up!'" he said. But ... the air traffic controller had to tell him how to set what they call the "bugs" - they're just little sort of little levers, or little notches on your indicator for your heading ... which is kind of basic.
The FBI is investigating the freakish incident in conjunction with the National Transportation Safety Board and local law enforcement.
Traffic arrives at Sea-Tac International Airport terminal Friday evening, August 10, 2018, in SeaTac, Wash. He didn't hear the crash, but saw smoke. It appeared the ground worker used a tow vehicle to rotate the plane 180 degrees on the tarmac before climbing into the cockpit, taxiing to a runway and taking off, Alaska executives said. The F-15s were scrambled from Portland and were not involved in the crash. "That's the one thing we had in common", said Halbert.
"Safety is our No. 1 goal", said Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Airlines.More news: Is the US-Turkey crisis beyond repair? | USA