A passenger plane crashed on an island in Puget Sound on Friday night, not long after a suspect conducted an "unauthorized take-off" from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington state, officials said.
Witnesses reported seeing a large plume of smoke in the air above Ketron Island.
"I've got a lot of people that care about me. It's going to disappoint them to hear that I did this. I would like to apologize to each and every one of them. Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess," the suspect said in audio grabbed from an air traffic control scanner and cited by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
In another instance, the suspect joked whether the airline would hire him as a pilot if he landed the plane safely.
The man, who was addressed as "Rich" in audio recordings with air traffic controllers, said he didn't want to land at a nearby military base.
He told them, "Those guys will rough me up if I try and land there."
The crash of the Horizon Air Q400 -- described as a 76-seat aircraft designed for short trips -- occurred because the pilot was "doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills," the sheriff's department said.
Horizon is a subsidiary of Alaska Airlines.
Airport officials confirmed via social media that no passengers were aboard the plane. They also said that operations at the airport had resumed after being temporarily halted.
Some unconfirmed reports on social media said the suspect was believed to have been an airline mechanic.
Around 9:15 p.m. PDT, Alaska Airlines tweeted: "We are aware of an incident involving an unauthorized take-off of a Horizon Air Q400. We believe there are no passengers on board. More information as we learn more."
The Federal Aviation Administration issued a message soon after the take-off:
"We can't confirm anything at this time. We're trying to get accurate information about what is actually going on. Without confirming anything, a stolen aircraft would be a security issue.
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