Plane Reportedly Stolen at Seattle’s SeaTac: Audio

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Passengers on Twitter are claiming that a man has taken – or even hijacked – a plane at SeaTac airport. Live dispatch audio from the Air Traffic Control tower, which you can listen to below, appears to bear that out, although authorities have not yet confirmed the many reports flooding social media.

Nothing was confirmed yet from authorities, but live aviation audio from the tower said authorities were urging a man who was being called “Rich” or “Rick” to try “to land that airplane safely and not hurt anybody.” Other audio reported a ground stop was underway at SeaTac, the airport that services Seattle and Tacoma.

You can listen to the live aviation audio from the SeaTac Air Traffic Control tower here.

At one point, he told the tower he was losing an engine. Periodically, his voice cut into the dispatches, sometimes sounding a bit frantic. At one point, “Rich” (or “Rick”), said on the aviation audio, “This is probably jail time for life, huh? I would hope it is for a guy like me.” People on Twitter who were following the aviation audio reported that the man attempted a “barrel roll” with the plane at one point – or at least claimed he was going to do so. Others reported that the man had supposedly “buzzed” Mt. Rainier.

“Halfway down the runway on Alaska airlines out of Seattle and the pilot slams on the brakes and shares we must go back to the gate. Quite a scary experience. Not entirely sure what’s happening. Someone sneak on board?” A man named Ben Schaechter wrote on Twitter.

The man said to dispatchers at one point, “You think if I can land this successfully, Alaska will give me a job as a pilot?” and the Air Traffic Control tower said, “I think they will give you a job doing anything if you pull this off.” He replied, “yeahhh right.”

At one point, the man reported that he threw up all over the cockpit, according to the audio.

“Keep the aircraft nice and low,” the tower responded to the man at one point, advising him to keep it over the water. “We had a ground stop for quite a while here,” a dispatcher says. However, late in the evening of August 10, 2018, tower audio indicated that some planes were being released.

You can listen to some of the tower audio later in this article.

Passengers Reported That Pilots Said Someone Stole a Plane & Audio Captured the Man’s Voice

Audio from the SeaTac tower reported that aircraft were lined up on the tarmac. You can listen to some archived aviation audio on the incident here:

And here:

Here’s more:

Although official accounts – other than through live aviation audio – were hard to come by, many passengers took to social media to report that pilots were telling them a man had stolen a plane. It doesn’t appear that plane had other passengers, based on the preliminary social media reports.

A man named Tyler Lucas wrote, “Sitting on the runway at SeaTac, preparing for departure. Before takeoff, the pilot explains someone stole an airplane, and is flying around near Mt. Rainier.” Lucas added, “They’ve been in contact with the culprit. He doesn’t sound confident in his ability to land back at SeaTac. They are grounding all planes and waiting. Unclear if passengers are on board. #seatac.”

A woman named Robanne Stading wrote on Twitter, “#seatac airport is on a ground halt because evidently a mechanic is flying an unauthorized flightseeing trip around the mtns. They wont let anyone leave the airport while he’s up there. Pilot said it was most bizarre thing he’d heard in his career. #iflyalaska #akedchat.”

Jon Ostrower, editor-in-chief of the Air Current, wrote on Twitter, “I’m not prepared to report what I’m picking up on the rumor mill right now. But stay tuned. This night is going to be a very weird one.”

He also wrote, “Something very weird is going on over @SeaTacAirport right now. The skies are eerily silent.”

The site Airline reported, “Reports saying that two F-15s have intercepted an Alaska Air Q400, operated by Horizon Air.” Again, this information was not confirmed by authorities.

The Twitter page Royal S. King wrote, “On a lake in Tacoma and 2 F-15 have intercepted at @AlaskaAir Q400 south of @SeaTacAirport.” Another man wrote, “@flytruenorth Are you following this story? Apparently someone stole a Horizon Q and is flying it over SeaTac. 😳”

One woman wrote on Twitter, “Update: It’s a customer service agent and he has stolen a big Horizon turbo prop. He is not a pilot and does not know how to land the plane. He has buzzed Mt Rainer and the Seattle area. Plane is a Q4. Stay tuned.”

Another indicated, “Seatac airspace closed. Horizon Q4 prop hijacked by unauthorized person not a pilot. Tower tracking flight and in contact. Hijacker does not know how to land the plane. Latest update from tower indicates no interest on his part to land the plane. Stay tuned.”

This article will be updated as more information is learned about the incident.

A plane was reportedly stolen at SeaTac airport in Seattle. Listen to audio from Air Traffic Control.

A plane was reportedly stolen at SeaTac airport in Seattle. Listen to audio from Air Traffic Control.

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