An airplane employee took off in a plane without permission at SeaTac Airport in Seattle, Washington and later crashed in Puget Sound, the airport confirmed Friday night. There were no other passengers on board.
An FAA spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that the plane departed without permission.
Alaska Airlines acknowledged the incident in a statement, saying “We are aware of an incident involving an unauthorized take-off of a Horizon Air Q400.”
The US Coast Guard was responding to a crash site where a “large smoke plume” was seen, NBC News reported. The plane was allegedly “flying around Puget Sound,” before later reports indicated there was a “large smoke plume” at Ketron Island. Rescue boats were headed to the scene.
SeaTac Airport confirmed that the plane crashed in south Puget Sound. The airport has returned to normal operations after a brief ground stop.
The Pierce County Sheriff described the person who took the plane as a 29-year-old “suicidal male” who had lived in the county.
Here’s a radar view of the reported crash site, via FlightRadar:
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