A 29-year-old amateur pilot and mechanic stole a plane and took off from Seattle's Sea-Tac International Airport on Friday evening, going on what appeared to be a suicidal joyride before slamming the aircraft into Ketron Island and setting off a large forest fire.

Video showed the aircraft doing large loops and other dangerous maneuvers as the sun was setting.

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The aircraft, a Q400, is described as a 76-seat aircraft designed for short trips.  No passengers were onboard.

USA Today reports:

Only minutes after the plane made its bizarre, unauthorized takeoff around 8 p.m., the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) scrambled two F-15s out of Portland to intercept it. NORAD said the fighters were attempting to direct him out over the Pacific Ocean when it went down but did not fire on the aircraft.

During the ordeal, the self-proclaimed pilot could be heard on audio recordings telling air traffic controllers that he is “just a broken guy.”

An air traffic controller called the man “Rich,” and tried to convince him to land the airplane.

“There is a runway just off to your right side in about a mile,” the controller says, referring to an airfield at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

“Oh man. Those guys will rough me up if I try and land there,” the man responded, later adding “This is probably jail time for life, huh?”

Later the man said: “I’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.”

The U.S. Coast Guard sent a 45-foot  vessel to the crash scene after witnesses reported seeing a large plume of smoke in the air, Petty Officer Ali Flockerzi said. Video showed fiery flames amidst trees on the island, which is sparsely populated and only accessible by ferry.

The pilot also joked that if he was able to land the plane safely, maybe the airline would hire him as a pilot.

Audio was captured of conversations between the pilot and air traffic control.

Clearly, he was a disturbed individual.

Sea-Tac tweeted out, "An airline employee conducted an unauthorized takeoff without passengers at Sea-Tac; aircraft has crashed in south Puget Sound. Normal operations at Sea-Tac Airport have resumed."

The Pierce County Sheriff's Office added, "Male is confirmed a suicidal male. Acted alone he is 29 year old Pierce county residence. We are working back ground on him now.

NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) issued a statement about the role of the military jets.

Of course, the FBI and others were on top of things, if that makes anyone feel any safer.

The crash injured no one on the island.

The obvious question going through everyone's mind here should be, how did this man get into the air in the first place?  I'll bet some genius at Homeland Security thinks TSA will now need to guard the aircraft, given that they've done such a fine job violating Americans' rights on a daily basis while many engage in other criminal activity against travelers.

Article posted with permission from Sons Of Liberty Media

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