An Alaska Airline’s plane that was stolen by a company employee crashed in Washington state, officials at the Seattle Airport said on Friday.
Officials said on Twitter that an employee of the company “led an unauthorized takeoff without passengers .”
Witnesses reported seeing the plane being chased by military aircraft near the airport.
The county sheriff’s office Pierce said on Twitter that preliminary information indicates that a mechanic stole the plane. He added that the crash may have been caused by the mechanic “doing aerial acrobatics or simply lack of ability as a pilot.”
A spokeswoman for the Coast Guard said the agency was responding to a report of a smoke plume and possible plane crash and that a boat was sent to the scene.
Previously, Alaska Airlines said there was an “unauthorized takeoff” of an airplane . The airline told The Associated Press that the plane is a Q400 from Horizon Air and it is thought that there are no passengers on board.
Horizon Air is part of the Alaska Air Group and covers short routes in the western United States.
The Q400 is a 76-seat turboprop aircraft.