an unauthorized person - maybe a mechanic? - TOOK A PLANE FOR A JOYRIDE outside of SeaTac airport.

what we know so far:

there may be someone else. it takes 2 people to move a plane out to get it to the taxi way. SeaTac appears to be still shut down

the plane has crashed on Ketron Island - a small, sparsely populated island south of Tacoma, near Steilacoom (yes, that’s a real name).

he took the plane and booked down a runway. arrivals and departures had to come to a screeching halt as he did not have clearance from the tower. He then apparently went on a joy ride, flying as far east as Orting and Eatonville, near Mount Rainier.

F15s were scrambled from Portland, arriving up here in minutes. Sonic booms and all. The Western Air Defense is on Joint Base Lewis-McChord (McChord is the Air Force) but the jets are deployed from Portland. 2 F15s were accompanying the plane as the tower attempted to talk the rogue pilot down.

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there are recordings of the air traffic controllers talking to him. he threatened to try to do barrel rolls, but didn’t apparently know how to land the plane. they just said on the TV that it’s not all the difficult to get the plane up in the air, if you have rudimentary airplane knowlege, but landing is a different issue

was he shot down or did he crash? no one knows at this time. the assumption is he crashed the plane, but I am a cynic. we are *heavily* populated in this area - with Seattle (and the space needle, skyscrapers), Tacoma (more skyscrapers), various sattelite communities, and Olympia (with the state capital). Not to mention the fort - JBLM is HUGE - and our mountains.

this has been batshit.

UPDATED: per the TV, the general consensus is that he crashed the plane. I still think he might (emphasis: MIGHT) have been shot down to ‘contain the situation’ but we’ll never be told that. It would open too many questions.

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I’m very frustrated with the general assumption that ‘he was suicidal’. There is nothing to indicate that and it’s an ‘easy’ answer. There are audio tapes from his conversation with air traffic controllers (and possibly another pilot who was going to try to talk him thru landing the plane) and his entire attitude and voice is lighthearted. He apologizes for creating a problem, says everything is ‘peachy’ and assures the air traffic controller that he knows what he’s doing because he’s ‘played video games’. The controller attempts to direct him to try to land at Lewis-McChord and he states he doesn’t want to, because they may have anti-aircraft guns (the controller assures him they don’t)

it’s also been very weird to know more than the talking heads on TV. They keep saying he ‘wanted’ to go out to Mt Rainier - but we know he already buzzed the mountain. He says he did, and there are photos on Twitter from Orting and Eatonville (both small towns out by the mountain) showing the plane flying low. Twitter knows more than the major network stations.

Armchair analysis: he almost seems manic to me? It seems as if this was all spontaneous, he never thought thru all the ramifications and issues and his conversation was very light hearted (altho I hear rumors of later conversations where he starts to cry - which could be he’s suddenly realized there is no good way out of this and he may not get down safely)

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Just.... beyond weird.