Horizon Air Q400 Plane Hijacked From Seattle Airport, Then Crashed

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In the early hours of August 11th, a Q400 Horizon Air airplane was hijacked by a mechanic from Seattle’s SeaTac Airport.

SeaTec officials, cited by the Sun Times, said that the airline employee had β€œconducted an unauthorized takeoff without passengers.”

Officials, cited by the Metro, also said that the hijacking of the plane is not related to terrorism.

The mechanic, who media describe as β€œsuicidal” stole a Horizon Air turboprop plane, took off from SeaTac. He was chased by military fighter jets before crashing into a small island in the Puget Sound on the night of August 10th, early hours of August 11th.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department’s in a Twitter post provided preliminary information suggesting that the 29-year-old mechanic β€œwas doing stunts or lack of flying skills” which caused the crash.

A video showed the Q400 Horizon Air doing large loops and other dangerous maneuvers. Luckily, there were no passengers on board.

According to the Metro, the man, identified only as Rich, was heard describing himself as β€œa broken man” to air traffic controllers. He also asked for the coordinates of grieving orca so that he could go and see it. Jimmy Thomson, a Canadian Journalist, listened to the archive of the radio chatter and reported bizarre dialogue. Rich said things such as β€œI wasn’t planning on landing it” and β€œI hope this doesn’t ruin your day” to air traffic controllers who were attempting to persuade him to land the aircraft.

Referring to an airfield at Joint Base Lewis-McChord the controller suggested landing there. β€œOh man. Those guys will rough me up if I try and land there,” the man responded, later adding β€œThis is probably jail time for life, huh?” Later on, the man exclaimed: β€œI’ve got a lot of people that care about me. It’s going to disappoint them to hear that I did this…Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess.”

When he was asked if he needed help, Rich responded: β€œNah, I mean, I don’t need that much help; I’ve played some video games before. I would like to figure out how to get this… make it pressurised or something so I’m not so lightheaded.”

During the incident flights out of SeaTac were temporarily grounded.

After the crash, witnesses reported seeing a US Coast Guard send a 45-foot (14-meter) vessel to the crash scene. Witnesses also report seeing a large plume of smoke in the air, according to Petty Officer Ali Flockerzi, cited by NBC.

Horizon Air Chief Operating Officer Constance von Muehlen said in a video posted the following on Twitter: β€œOur hearts are with the family of the individual aboard, along with all of our Alaska Air and Horizon Air employees.”

Spokesmen for the Transportation Security Administration, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Aviation Administration directed inquiries to local authorities.

Horizon Air is part of Alaska Air Group and flies shorter routes throughout the U.S. West. The Q400 ix a turboprop aircraft with 76 seats.

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  • as

    The aircraft lacks fuel so it was crashed. Intentionally or not. Too bad we weren’t seeing another 911 physics going on.

  • Ivan Freely

    Nothing burger. At least this guy knew he was a broken man. I’ve listened to the recordings and he appears to have made up his mind on how to end his miserable life.

  • Kell McBanned

    Well broken or not he made that Turboprop loop the loop like a Zero from 1940.
    As Western civilization enters its death throws and White men continually targeted for marginalization and genocide I expect to see more spectacular endings :(

    • Ivan Freely

      Be careful. Remember that old Chinese proverb about making wishes. Now, remember what lesson Putin learned when he was young. With that in mind, the end would be most spectacular indeed.

  • Pave Way IV

    I’m having a hard time believing anything about this. First, the MSM is reporting the plane was hijacked – it was not. It was completely empty and sitting near a maintenance hangar. This guy supposedly just got in, started it and took off. Turns out the guy was a regular old baggage handler, NOT a mechanic. The MSM can’t even figure out what ‘ground crew’ means (or choose not to for some reason). He apparently had a few hours of flight instruction but no pilot’s license.

    Now the possibility that a baggage handler – possibly with a few hours of small, single-engine aircraft flight instruction – could even start this aircraft and configure it for takeoff is preposterous. A Bombardier Dash-8 Q400 is a damn big and complicated aircraft. Now I suppose you could get most of the way there with hours and hours on some of the modern flight simulators, but nobody who uses them calls those a ‘video game’. And who spends thousands of dollars on software and flight simulation equipment… for a f’king Dash-8 sim?

    Any pilots out there? Do you figure you could get the two PW150A’s lit up with the Dash-8’s intuitive glass cockpit (I’m being sarcastic here): 1) at all, or 2) without smoking them in the process of pushing the aircraft around?
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/86/Q400_flight_deck.jpg

    The rest of the supposed joyride seems a bit to unbelievable if you listen to the recordings. Why would this guy change the radio’s frequency to the tower (when it was probably left on ground) and start chatting it up with the controllers? You would think a depressed, suicidal guy would rather not be otherwise distracted when he’s trying to keep a twin-turboprop airliner flying. Must have finished his at-cruise checklist and had time to relax, I guess.

    Too many other weird things to mention. “Can you tell me how to get the cabin pressurized – I’m getting dizzy…” That seems pretty odd since he apparently had to climb to 5000 ft. for his barrel-roll of death. Even a beginning pilot should know you don’t need a pressurized cabin or ‘get dizzy’ when you’re well below 10,000 ft. and have no reason to climb that high. The supposed barrel-roll was odd, too. He gets the Dash-8’s skinny wings vertical, it starts dropping like a rock, and he somehow ‘knows’ to stomp on the rudder and make that dramatic recovery (without ripping the wings off)? That must have been some dam fine flight school!. If he did have a Dash-8 flight simulator, he wouldn’t have even attempted a barrel-roll at that speed, attitude and altitude. I guess he just focused on the take-offs!

    Everything smells about this one. How much does anyone want to bet that an Israeli security company is about to get a huge Department of Homeland Security contract to ‘secure our vulnerable aircraft maintenance areas’?