Me­chanic steals, crashes US air­craft

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - News - Agence France­Presse let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

SAN FRAN­CISCO: A “sui­ci­dal” me­chanic stole an empty pas­sen­ger plane from the Seat­tle-Ta­coma air­port late Fri­day, took it for a brief flight then crashed it in an in­ci­dent of­fi­cials said was un­re­lated to ter­ror­ism.

Two mil­i­tary F-15s were scram­bled to chase the stolen plane, but lo­cal of­fi­cials said the jets “were not in­volved in the crash.”

Video taken by a by­stander showed the pas­sen­ger air­plane mak­ing an un­likely up­side-down aerial loop, then fly­ing low over Puget Sound be­fore crash­ing into the sparsely pop­u­lated Ketron Is­land in the north­west­ern US state of Wash­ing­ton.

The crash sparked a fire in the dense for­est. Flames lit up the night as they spread from the burn­ing wreck­age to nearby trees. Of­fi­cials said there were no vic­tims on the ground.

An air­line em­ployee “con­ducted an unau­tho­rised take­off” of an air­plane car­ry­ing no pas­sen­gers, then “crashed in south Puget Sound,” Sea-Tac Air­port of­fi­cials said on Twit­ter.

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AP PHOTO

Se­cu­rity of­fi­cials re­spond to an alert about the crash.

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