Alaska Airlines has confirmed that a Horizon Airlines Bombardier Q400 that had an unauthorized takeoff from Sea-Tac International Airport around 8 p.m. has gone down near Ketron Island in Pierce County.
The airline is working to confirm who was on board, but it is believed that there were no passengers or crew on board other than the person operating the plane.
Alaska Airlines believes a ground service agent employed by Horizon Air was the individual responsible for flying the Horizon Q400 without clearance from Sea-Tac International Airport around 8 p.m. tonight.
The plane, which was taken from a maintenance position and was not scheduled for passenger flight, crashed about an hour later in a wooded area on Ketron Island in rural Pierce County. No ground structures were involved at the crash site.
Military jets were scrambled from Portland, but it does not appear that these jets were involved in the crash of the Horizon aircraft.
First responders are at the crash site. Appropriate government agencies, including NTSB, FAA and FBI, have been notified.
A brief statement from Constance von Muehlen of Horizon Air regarding tonight’s incident:
“Good evening, I’m Constance von Muehlen, Horizon Air chief operating officer. I’m sorry to share with you this evening that at approximately 8 p.m., one of our Q400 airplanes made an unauthorized takeoff from Sea-Tac Airport. We believe it was taken by a single Horizon Air employee and that no other passengers or crew were onboard. Shortly thereafter, it crashed on Ketron Island by South Tacoma. Our hearts are with the families of the individual aboard as well as all of our Alaska Air and Horizon Air employees. We will provide more information as it becomes available.”