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Last updated: 14 November 2018
Status:- (No safety board investigation)
Date:Friday 10 August 2018
Time:20:47
Type:Silhouette image of generic DH8D model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
de Havilland Canada DHC-8-402Q Dash 8
Operator:Horizon Air
On behalf of:Alaska Airlines
Registration: N449QX
C/n / msn: 4410
First flight: 2012
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150A
Crew:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Ketron Island, WA (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Illegal Flight
Departure airport:Seattle/Tacoma International Airport, WA (SEA/KSEA), United States of America
Destination airport:-
Narrative:
A Horizon Air DHC-8-402Q crashed after being stolen from Seattle/Tacoma International Airport, Washington, USA.
The 28-year old airline ground-service agent at Seattle/Tacoma International Airport arrived at the airport for his work shift at 14:36 hours local time. At 19:15 hours he arrived in a tow vehicle at the Cargo 1 ramp, at the far north end of the airport close to the thresholds of runway 16L, C and R. He climbed aboard and started the engines before briefly exiting the aircrtaft in order to turn aircraft 180 degrees with the nose towards the airfield. At 19:32 the aircraft taxied away from the apron. A tower controller attempted to contact the aircraft, but it took off from runway 16C at 19:33 hours.
The aircraft then began manoeuvering over Puget Sound and was seen to perform a split S, pulling up just above the water. During these manoeuvres the person in control of the aircraft was in radio contact with air traffic control.
McDonnell Douglas F-15C Eagle fighter aircraft of the Oregon Air National Guard were dispatched and followed the aircraft.
At 20:46 hours the aircraft entered a significant sideslip with the control column in a position forward of neutral. The controls were pushed further forward and six seconds later, the aircraft impacted wooded terrain on Ketron Island, 40 km to the southwest of the Seattle/Tacoma Airport. Both wings broke off in the accident sequence and the fuselage came to rest inverted. The sole person on board the aircraft was killed.

An FBI-investigation concluded that the final descent to the ground was intentional. Extensive investigative activity failed to reveal any additional subject(s) involved in the planning or execution of the unauthorized flight. Although investigators received information regarding the man's background, possible stressors, and personal life, no element provided a clear motivation for his actions.

Classification:

Sources:
» FBI Completes Investigation into August 2018 Unauthorized Flight from Seattle-Tacoma Airport (fbi.gov, 9 Nov. 2018)
» Seattle/Tacoma ATC audio including contact with N449QX
» List of aircraft crashes involving non-pilots stealing an aircraft


Photos

photo of de Havilland Canada DHC-8-402Q Dash 8 N449QX
photo of de Havilland Canada DHC-8-402Q Dash 8 N449QX
photo of de Havilland Canada DHC-8-402Q Dash 8 C-GNGZ
pre-delivery test flight before being registered N449QX
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This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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