Airplane theft shows potential dangers from airline workers

Alaska Airlines planes sit on the tarmac at Sea-Tac International Airport Friday evening, Aug. 10, 2018, in SeaTac, Wash. An airline mechanic stole an

Alaska Airlines planes sit on the tarmac at Sea-Tac International Airport Friday evening, Aug. 10, 2018, in SeaTac, Wash. An airline mechanic stole an

The site on Ketron Island in Washington state where an Horizon Air turboprop plane crashed after it was stolen from Sea-Tac International Airport is s

The site on Ketron Island in Washington state where an Horizon Air turboprop plane crashed after it was stolen from Sea-Tac International Airport is s

Smoke rises from the site on Ketron Island in Washington state where an Horizon Air turboprop plane crashed Friday after it was stolen from Sea-Tac In

Smoke rises from the site on Ketron Island in Washington state where an Horizon Air turboprop plane crashed Friday after it was stolen from Sea-Tac In

Workers gather in a staging area Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, near Steilacoom, Wash., near the site on Ketron Island in Washington state where an Horizon

Workers gather in a staging area Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, near Steilacoom, Wash., near the site on Ketron Island in Washington state where an Horizon

Ffire trucks drive toward a ferry boat headed to Ketron Island, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, at the ferry terminal in Steilacoom, Wash. An airline mechanic

Ffire trucks drive toward a ferry boat headed to Ketron Island, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, at the ferry terminal in Steilacoom, Wash. An airline mechanic

Ferry workers stand by as fire trucks are parked on a ferry boat headed to Ketron Island, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, at the ferry terminal in Steilacoom,

Ferry workers stand by as fire trucks are parked on a ferry boat headed to Ketron Island, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, at the ferry terminal in Steilacoom,

Alaska Airlines planes sit on the tarmac at Sea-Tac International Airport Friday evening, Aug. 10, 2018, in SeaTac, Wash. An airline mechanic stole an

Alaska Airlines planes sit on the tarmac at Sea-Tac International Airport Friday evening, Aug. 10, 2018, in SeaTac, Wash. An airline mechanic stole an

Planes sit on the tarmac at Sea-Tac International Airport after service was halted after an Alaska Airlines plane was stolen Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, in

Planes sit on the tarmac at Sea-Tac International Airport after service was halted after an Alaska Airlines plane was stolen Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, in

People stand in the Alaska Airlines ticket area at Sea-Tac International Airport Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, in SeaTac, Wash. An airline mechanic stole an

People stand in the Alaska Airlines ticket area at Sea-Tac International Airport Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, in SeaTac, Wash. An airline mechanic stole an

People stand in the Alaska Airlines ticket area at Sea-Tac International Airport Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, in SeaTac, Wash.An airline mechanic stole an A

People stand in the Alaska Airlines ticket area at Sea-Tac International Airport Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, in SeaTac, Wash.An airline mechanic stole an A

The site on Ketron Island in Washington state where an empty Horizon Air turboprop plane crashed Friday after it was stolen from Sea-Tac International

The site on Ketron Island in Washington state where an empty Horizon Air turboprop plane crashed Friday after it was stolen from Sea-Tac International

The site on Ketron Island in Washington state where an empty Horizon Air turboprop plane crashed Friday after it was stolen from Sea-Tac International

The site on Ketron Island in Washington state where an empty Horizon Air turboprop plane crashed Friday after it was stolen from Sea-Tac International

Smoke rises from the site on Ketron Island in Washington state where an Horizon Air turboprop plane crashed Friday after it was stolen from Sea-Tac In

Smoke rises from the site on Ketron Island in Washington state where an Horizon Air turboprop plane crashed Friday after it was stolen from Sea-Tac In

Friends of Richard Russell give parting hugs after making a statement to the media Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, at the Orting Valley Police and Fire Depar

Friends of Richard Russell give parting hugs after making a statement to the media Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, at the Orting Valley Police and Fire Depar

Mike Mathews and friends of Richard Russell talk to the media Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, at the Orting Valley Police and Fire Department, in Orting, Was

Mike Mathews and friends of Richard Russell talk to the media Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, at the Orting Valley Police and Fire Department, in Orting, Was

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The theft of an empty turboprop plane by an airline worker at Sea-Tac International Airport who performed dangerous loops before crashing into a remote island in Puget Sound illustrated what aviation experts have long known: One of the biggest potential perils for commercial air travel is airline or airport employees causing mayhem.

Investigators are piecing together how the airline ground agent working his regular shift stole an empty Horizon Air turboprop plane, took off Friday night from Sea-Tac and fatally crashed into the a small island after being chased by military jets that were quickly scrambled.

Officials said Saturday that the man was a 3.5-year Horizon employee and had clearance to be among aircraft, but that to their knowledge, he wasn't a licensed pilot.