Planes were reportedly grounded at the SeaTac International Airport as reports flew that someone might have stolen an airplane and taken it on an unauthorized flight.
Nothing was confirmed yet from authorities, but live aviation audio from the tower said authorities were “trying 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.
The man’s name was “Rich,” according to tower audio and, at one point, he told the tower he was losing an engine. Periodically, his voice cut into the dispatches.
“Keep that plane right over the audio. Keep the aircraft nice and low,” the tower responds. “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
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.”
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:
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 Geeks.com 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.
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