A "suicidal" airline employee stole an empty Horizon Air turboprop plane, took off from Sea-Tac International Airport and was chased by military jets before crashing into a small island in the Puget Sound on Friday night, officials said.
Preliminary information suggests the crash occurred because the 29-year-old man was "doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills," the Pierce County Sheriff's Department said.
The 29-year-old ground service agent died, the Pierce County Sheriff's Department said, without further identifying him.
Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the sheriff's department, said on Twitter the man was suicidal and there was no connection to terrorism.
Video showed the Horizon Air Q400 doing large loops and other dangerous maneuvers as the sun set on the Puget Sound. There were no passengers aboard.
Witnesses reported seeing the plane being chased by military aircraft before it crashed on Ketron Island, southwest of Tacoma, Washington.