Unlawful Interference de Havilland Canada DHC-8-402Q Dash 8 N449QX, Friday 10 August 2018
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Date:Friday 10 August 2018
Type:Silhouette image of generic DH8D model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
de Havilland Canada DHC-8-402Q Dash 8
Owner/operator:Horizon Air, opf Alaska Airlines
Registration: N449QX
MSN: 4410
Year of manufacture:2012
Engine model:Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150A
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Category:Unlawful Interference
Location:Ketron Island, WA -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Nature:Illegal Flight
Departure airport:Seattle/Tacoma International Airport, WA (SEA/KSEA)
Destination airport:-
Confidence Rating:
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 aircraft 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.


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

History of this aircraft

Other occurrences involving this aircraft

29 September 2013 N449QX Horizon Air 0 Reno, Nevada non



photo (c) Eric Salard; Los Angeles International Airport, CA (LAX/KLAX); 16 April 2015; (CC:by-sa)

photo (c) Jos van den Broeck; Los Angeles International Airport, CA (LAX/KLAX); 06 October 2014

photo (c) Bill Gibson; North Bay Airport, ON (YYB/CYYB); 17 May 2012

Revision history:


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